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Spirit AeroSystems to lay off 150 workers

Keywords: Tags  Spirit AeroSystems, Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, SPEEA, worker layoffs, Kansas facility, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Spirit AeroSystems Inc. issued layoff notices to 150 salaried and management workers at its Wichita, Kan., headquarters and indicated that more reductions are likely on a voluntary basis.

These exiting employees are presumably part of a second round of layoffs announced by the aerospace subcontractor, whose total level of cutbacks hasn’t been disclosed.

A Spirit spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment.

Spirit also said a "significant number" of its salaried employees have "expressed interest" in voluntary retirement and layoff packages being offered by the company.

As Spirit pares its salaried and management workers, the company said it is also hiring "several hundred more factory workers," including assembly, composite, metals and process mechanics, as well as quality inspectors, to work on its aircraft programs, although it wasn’t specific about the number of new hires.

Employees represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) were informed of their layoffs Sept. 12, a spokesman for the company’s largest white-collar union said.

"They’re calling in our folks this morning," the spokesman said, noting that 118 SPEEA-represented employees were told of their impending departures.

This latest round of cuts brings to 339 the total number of people who have been let go in SPEEA’s bargaining unit at Spirit since layoffs picked up steam in July, when the company announced it was implementing an initial round of 360 furloughs (, July 25).

This was followed by Spirit’s disclosure that it would sell off its Oklahoma operations (, Aug. 6), which came amid reports that it might be a takeover target. The company declined to comment on this speculation.

Spirit’s intention to furlough additional employees, including management personnel, came late last month, although the company said the number of layoffs hadn’t been determined (, Aug. 30).

The union spokesman said this week that the layoffs show Spirit has no understanding of the "integral" role that its engineers and technicians play in the operation of an aerospace factory.

The voluntary layoff and retirement packages are being offered on a "blanket" basis to Spirit employees, the SPEEA spokesman said. He was unable to estimate how many workers are likely to accept the offers, but emphasized that the workers should approach these package with caution and seek expert advice before signing any waivers.

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