LOS ANGELES In
the latest in a series of disputes, the largest white-collar
union at Spirit AeroSystems Inc. has filed an unfair labor
practice charge against the aerospace company.
The Society of
Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) filed
the unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board
(NLRB), claiming that the Wichita, Kans.-based company has
refused to bargain with the union and violated the grievance
procedure on 15 terminations. The unions Midwest
director, Bob Brewer, said it was "a complete repudiation of
the established grievance process and Spirits own
The union also said
the company was "nonresponsive" at meetings related to
Spirits "abrupt and arbitrary firing" of 38 employees in
"The allegation is
untrue," Spirit said. "Once the (NLRB) has all the facts, we
are confident that they will dismiss it."
clash with Spirit is part of a pattern that has persisted over
the past few years, a union spokesman in Tukwila, Wash., said.
The union noted that Spirit unfairly lowered the performance
ratings of more than 1,000 of its members in 2011 and
downgraded another 83 employees ratings in 2012.
The spokesman said the
union had received "indications" that Spirit wants to invoke
what he described as an infrequently implemented clause in its
contracts that would result in employees in the lowest
performance category losing benefits, including recall rights
following a layoff.
SPEEA represents 2,162
technical workers and 807 engineers at the builder of
commercial aerospace structures and components, which is
considered to be the largest structural subcontractor to
Chicago-based Boeing Co.
Earlier this year,
SPEEA participated in difficult negotiations for more than
23,000 members at Boeing. Their pay was ultimately raised, but
they gave up a traditional defined-pension plan for new hires
for a defined-contribution 401(k) plan (
amm.com, March 19).