Hawker Beechcraft, Machinists Reach Tentative Deal

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Machinists union reaches a tentative deal with aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft that could end a 21-day strike at the company's plants in Wichita and Salina.

Members of the union will vote Thursday.

Machinists spokesman Bob Wood said the new offer freezes vision and dental health care costs, meaning the 4 percent raise in wages won't be eaten up by health care premiums. The company also made improvements to pensions, overtime and other contract provisions.

Hawker Beechcraft said in a statement that the company looks forward to employees returning to work after Labor Day if the contract is ratified.

Machinists struck the company's plants in Wichita and Salina on August 4th when the union's old contract expired.

The Machinists' contract covers about 4,700 hourly workers at the Wichita plant and 500 in Salina.

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