Boeing Company will close its defense, space and security facility in Wichita, company officials announced today.
The company, which currently employs more than 2,160 in Wichita, will shutter its Wichita facility by the end of 2013. Researchers at Wichita State estimate the plant’s closing will result in more than $1.5 billion in wages over the next decade.
Mark Bass, vice president and general manager of the Boeing Defense, Space & Security Maintenance Division, said the decision was based on a thorough study of current and future needs.
“We recognize how this will affect the lives of the highly skilled men and women who work here, so we will do everything possible to assist our employees, their families and our community through this difficult transition,” Bass said.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said he was outraged by the announcement. The company, he explained, is refusing to honor its commitment to the people of Kansas.
Kansas Congressional leaders were instrumental in helping Boeing win a contract for tankers. The company said the contract would add as many as 7,500 jobs for the state.
“It is hard to believe that conditions would have changed so rapidly over the past few months to bring about the decision to not only move the tanker finishing work elsewhere, but to also close down the entire facility,” Moran said.
Joan Wagnon, Kansas Democratic Party Chair, said throwing money at ” wealthy corporations to attract or retain jobs doesn’t guarantee loyalty or longevity.”
Boeing announced its intention to study shuttering its Wichita facility six weeks ago. Since then, a variety of state leaders have requested meetings with Boeing officials.
“Boeing’s senior leadership chose not to meet with local Wichita officials or even give them a serious opportunity to work together on a different plan for the future. I am astonished Boeing would make such a hasty decision without considering all of the alternatives or the significant impact this decision will have,” Moran said.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., also expressed his disappointment in the company’s decision.
“No lawmaker can compel a private company’s economic decisions, although Gov. Brownback and the congressional delegation together have made the best arguments possible for Wichita,” Roberts said. “While it would be easy for me to react to this very unfortunate decision with anger and resentment that won’t save a single job.”
It’s a sad day for Kansas, Wagnon said.
“Despite all the economic incentives and tax breaks, of which there were many, and despite the loyalty of Boeing’s workers and its long history in Kansas, Boeing turned its back on a community and a state that supported the corporation generously through tough times,” she said.
– Danedri Thompson