Spirit Employees Question Executive Compensation Packages

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There's a debate on the national level about whether companies are overpaying top executives. Some employees at Spirit have brought up this same issue locally.

A Strike at Boeing has led to three-day work weeks at Spirit and hard feelings among some employees struggling to get by.

Spirit spokeswoman Debbie Gann says some employees are spreading rumors of a new stock award and basing it on recent SEC filings.

Gann says it's not true and that the filings do not reflect new stock awards. She says the filings show what top executives received when Spirit went public a couple of years ago.

They were re-filed, according to Gann, because they were amended by Spirit's Board of Directors to allow executives to sell a portion of their stock to make tax payments related to their stock options.

"I would argue that that is taken out of context," Gann said.

Wichita State University management professor Jim Wolff says the issue of compensation often comes up in business classes. He says employees claiming Spirit executives are overpaid are misled.

"It's somewhat out of context and certainly put in a very narrow frame of
what's transpired in the last few weeks," Dr. Wolff said.

Wolff says companies like Spirit pay executives in stock to motivate them to grow the company.

"The idea behind compensation is to provide them incentives for making good
decisions and being good stewards of the organization to maintain employment levels or grow employment levels for everybody," Dr. Wolff says.

Spirit's Debbie Gann says it's unconscionable for employees to infer executives are getting additional compensation when employees are being asked to cut back.

She says the claims are absolutely false.

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