International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 839 in Wichita, KS, opened contract talks with Spirit AeroSystems, one of the largest aerostructures manufacturers in the world. Spirit AeroSystems produces 70% of Boeing’s narrow-body aircraft and defense and business jet structures.
For the nearly 6,000 IAM members, these negotiations represent a culmination of 13 years without a fully negotiated contract, one where the members could authorize a strike action based on the last best and final offers from the company. The longest span in the aerospace industry without extensions averages 3-5 years. The IAM Members at Spirit extended their 10-year contract in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
“This contract is one of the biggest for the state and could potentially change the lives of over 7000 employees of Spirit AeroSystems, not to mention the community itself. Changing lives is one of the things we stand for, and changing the culture is what we do. This company has had 13 years to tell the employees how important they are. Now it’s time to show us. We want a more than deserved fair contract for the next 3 yrs,” stated Cornell Beard, Directing Business Representative for District 70.
The members of Local Lodge 839 have stood firm for the company during their many obstacles, including cyclical downturns in the aerospace market, the Boeing 737 Max’s software issues, profound changes in defense spending, and global market variations, as well as weathering the global pandemic of 2020. Through all of this, the members of Local 839 have given what Spirit AeroSystems needed to maintain the competitive edge with its technologies.
“Even during the challenges of the pandemic and the 737 Max issues, our IAM members have faced uncertainty after uncertainty, all while continuing to produce efficient and exceptional quality products”, stated General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “Thirteen years – it’s long past time for Spirit to sit down and craft an industry-leading agreement with our members.”
The current agreement ends at midnight on June 24, 2023.