Impact of the sale of the Tulsa and McAlester Boeing plants

Wednesday, February 23rd 2005, 10:29 am
By: News On 6

Now that Onex is buying Boeing in Tulsa, McAlester and Wichita, employees are wondering what Onex has on its mind. News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg looks into that.

If their track record is any indication, Onex has some good things in store, but things could also be very different at the Boeing facility on North Mingo in Tulsa in the near future.

On a very gloomy day, longtime Boeing worker Roger Teegarden had a sunny outlook. "Everything we've heard and read about Onex, we're very excited about, we think it's going to do a lot of stuff for Tulsa."

For starters, Onex has said it plans to invest $1-billion in the plants in Kansas and Oklahoma. Tulsa plant manager Don Carlisle: "Onex brings capital and the opportunity to grow our business outside of our traditional customers."

Non-traditional indeed, Onex has plans to make parts for both Boeing and arch-rival Airbus. "That's one of the beautiful attractions of this.” ORU Business Professor Charles Atkins says whichever plane takes off, Tulsa is covered. "The Airbus market, which Airbus has the very large jumbo market and Boeing which has the 787."

And Boeing execs say Onex interest goes beyond the factory walls. Don Carlisle: "You'll find that they not only enjoy financial success with the companies they acquire, but they participate heavily in the community and are very well thought of."

Some issues are still up in the air. Roger Teegarden: "Our pay, our job security and our pension, that's very important to us and we don't know anything about that right now." Generally speaking, other unions have positive comments on Onex.

Professor Charles Atkins: “And they've announced they're going to engage in collective bargaining agreements with the union, so they're going to address those things right at the start so it doesn't become a sticky thing downstream."

Roger Teegarden: "I feel very optimistic about it."