Spirit AeroSystems Union Workers To Vote On New Deal June 29
Union leaders for thousands of Spirit AeroSystems workers in Wichita on June 27 urged their membership to ratify a new set of proposals from the aerostructures giant.
They said a membership vote is slated for June 29. “The parties have reached a tentative agreement with the unanimous support of the entire Local 839 bargaining committee,” the statement said. “This agreement addresses our members’ concerns with substantial wage increases, maintaining the CORE [sic] healthcare plan benefits that the membership insisted on, and includes no mandatory overtime.”
Spirit AeroSystems and District 70, Local Lodge 839 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) have been talking since members of the latter started striking June 24. The strike and rejection of Spirit’s last and best offer on June 21 has hit the aerospace industry by surprise, especially after local union leadership had endorsed Spirit’s previous offer.
IAM District 70 and IAM Local 839 fall under the jurisdiction of IAM’s Southern Territory. Leaders there issued the latest statement in support of the new deal. Southern Territory General VP Rickey Wallace and IAM Southern Territory Chief of Staff Craig Martin said they had been directly involved in the latest negotiations with the company. They also praised local union leadership.
“This contract is an industry-leading agreement that should make our members extremely proud,” they said. “The committee listened to our membership and has done an excellent job addressing our members’ needs. We fully support this proposal and are proud to recommend its acceptance during the membership vote this Thursday, June 29.”
According to the union, the new agreement begins with a 20% pay hike over four years, versus just 16% before. The first year also has a guaranteed 3.5% cost of living adjustment, and additional COLAs up to the same percentage would be rolled into base pay. There further is a $3,000 signing bonus.
Perhaps just as importantly, the new deal includes no changes to the “core” and “enhanced” health insurance plans, and it includes continuation of existing pharmacy and prescription drug list coverage. Discontent with earlier health care terms was a key reason for members rejecting the last offer, according to local news reports.
Finally, overtime work on weekends will not be mandatory for IAM workers, and six hours of notification must be given for daily overtime requests from management. Additional paid time-off benefits and union representation also were included.