Archive for Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spirit, union reach tentative pact

November 30, 2011

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— Spirit AeroSystems reached a tentative agreement with its union for engineering and technical workers at its production plant in Wichita.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace said in a statement that although the 9 1/2-year duration of the contract it agreed to Tuesday is longer than it wanted, salaries should remain competitive.

“Making sure a long-term contract had the right protections in place was key to these negotiations,” said Bob Brewer, SPEEA Midwest director. “It has been a long journey and a tremendous amount of work and effort has been put in to get to the final result.”

If members sign off on the deal, they will receive annual market-based raises starting in 2012 and a $2,000 signing bonus. The agreement provides increased restrictions on the number of contract employees Spirit would be allowed to hire.

Spirit spokesman Kenneth Evans said completion of the negotiations moves all parties closer to a long-term deal.

“We believe the proposal agreed to at the negotiating table is fair and competitive and one that allows us to build an even stronger future together,” Evans said Wednesday.

Representatives of the union’s bargaining unit council met Tuesday and voted unanimously to recommend approval of the contract offer. Union members will be briefed on the details of the offer during lunchtime meetings, and will vote on it in the coming weeks.

SPEEA represents about 2,300 workers at the Wichita plant, which makes large aircraft parts for Boeing and other plane makers. Union members have been working without a contract since July, when they overwhelmingly voted to reject Spirit’s offer of a 9 1/2-year contract.

Union officials said that membership increased to 52 percent of the 2,300 employees included in the bargaining unit since the July contract offer was rejected.

“The increase in membership we experienced in the past two months made a remarkable difference,” said Bill Hartig, chairman of the Wichita Technical and Professional Unit negotiation team.

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