Friday, July 29, 2011
Spirit Aerosystems and SPEEA union members are not sure what is next after a contract rejection by union members. The contract offer was rejected by 96.5% of those voting. In the vote, SPEAA union members sent a message to the company saying they want to resume negotiations, but the company's message Friday was it is not ready for talks and is considering what comes next.
"I think to say we're very disappointed at this point just scratches the surface, but that's where we are at the moment," Spirit Aerosystems spokesman Ken Evans said. "We literally spent months at the table in various ways, either through subcommittees or at main table trying to come to an understanding."
An understanding, he said, that Spirit is a performance based company with its focus of keeping the company healthy and its team of workers intact, including SPEEA members.
SPEEA's Midwest Director Bob Brewer says members rejected the offer because he said it called for large employee concessions and would stagnate wages for its nearly decade length. "They finally just dropped an offer which the employees told them was going to be unacceptable. So I don't know why they would be surprised with that," Brewer said.
The bargaining unit covers 2,350 employees. Brewer said over 40% of those are dues paying members who can vote. Seventy-five percent of those voted, which he calls a good turnout. But Evans said since only about 700 voted, nearly 60% were not heard from. So what's next? "We're not sure where to go from here. I think what we've got is a situation right now is that I can give you status. The status is that the contract has expired, and we have made no commitment to return to the bargaining table," Evans added.
"I want to make it very clear that we're ready to sit back down to the table next week, talk about the things that went wrong, talk about what we need to do to put a decade long contract down that's going to be accepted by the members," Brewer said.
Evans acknowledged the rejection vote sends a message, but he said their can be widely held opinions specifically what the message was with so many different views over what's in the contract offer. Bottom line for now, union workers are working without a contract since it expired July 25th.