LOS ANGELES Spirit AeroSystems Inc. announced another round of layoffs as its largest white-collar union applied for federal assistance.
In a move designed to "balance" its labor force, the Wichita, Kan.-based aerospace subcontractor said it plans "additional work force reductions" of both management and salaried employees in Wichita, starting in September.
"The number is not yet determined," a Spirit spokesman told AMM this past week. In July, Spirit furloughed 360 employees in Kansas and Oklahoma (amm.com, July 25), later disclosing it intends to sell its Oklahoma operations. (amm.com, Aug. 6).
The Spirit spokesman stressed that, despite the cutbacks, the company will also add employees, in particular to support rising demand for its role in Chicago-based Boeing Co.s 737 and 787 Dreamliner airliners. Reductions will initially be implemented by "voluntary" retirement and layoff programs, followed by involuntary layoffs, the company said.
Meanwhile, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) said it filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor seeking access to training, income support and other benefits through federal trade legislation that is designed to assist laid-off workers affected by increased imports or companies "moving work to other countries."
SPEEA, which noted it has filed unfair labor practice charges against Spirit with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), claimed Spirits layoff plans, combined with earlier reductions, brings it close to a 500-layoff-per-quarter threshold, which would require a 60-day furlough notice under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
While the Spirit spokesman didnt respond to SPEEAs comment about WARN, he said "two of three" charges with the NLRB have been dismissed. "We fully expect that last charge will be dismissed," he said.
SPEEA, which has also filed more than 200 grievances against Spirit, said it understands that the upcoming layoffs will go "beyond" the voluntary exits.