By Brian Heap
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
6:57 PM EST, January 4, 2012
Leaders of Wichita’s aircraft unions say they feel misled by Boeing’s decision to leave the Air Capital by the end of 2013.
“It’s a sad day,” said Midwest SPEEA Director Bob Brewer. He spoke minutes after the aerospace giant informed its 2160 local employees.
“It was rather quiet in there this morning,” said Brewer. “A lot of people feared the worst and it happened.”
Brewer said Wichita is now competing with other cities and states that are trying to lure away work. He disagreed with Boeing’s contention that labor costs in Wichita are too high.
“What’s killing this plant -- it’s the overhead costs, it’s not the labor. It’s not the benefits. It’s sure not the resources. We’ve got the greatest people in the world right here in Wichita,” Brewer said.
IAM President Steve Rooney said he believes the research Boeing did about Wichita is flawed.
“I believe it could have been much better and had more input and influence from the people that build this product every day,” he said.
Rooney said Boeing used Wichita employees to train people in Oklahoma City and San Antonio and then sent the jobs there.
Union leaders had no idea what type of phase out plan Boeing is considering.