A machinists union on Monday said it filed papers in US Bankruptcy Court challenging efforts by bankrupt jet maker Hawker Beechcraft to sell itself to a Chinese company, saying the move could cost jobs and threaten US national security.
In a statement, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said the sale deserved scrutiny from federal regulators, state officials and the community of Wichita, Kansas, where Hawker Beechcraft is based. It added that the sale should not be rushed through.
Hawker Beechcraft, owned by Goldman Sachs and Onex, disclosed last week it was in talks regarding a USD$1.8 billion sale of the company with Superior Aviation Beijing, a 60-40 joint venture between privately owned Beijing Superior Aviation Technology and government backed Beijing E-Tong International Investment & Development.
The deal would be subject to approval from various entities.
The machinists union said its court filing expressed concern that the sale could result in the transfer of commercial and military-related technology to China, leading to the loss of high-paying aerospace jobs while compromising US national security interests.
The union also said the sale agreement would require the termination of Hawker's defined benefit pension plans, including one that covers more than 3,500 machinists union members at the company.
The proposed sale "has broad implications for the US economy and national security," machinists union International President Tom Buffenbarger said in the statement.
"As the necessary review process has not yet commenced, giving Superior the exclusive right to negotiate the purchase of Hawker at this time is premature," he added.