Spirit To Expand Holiday Shutdowns

By: Natasha Trelfa Email
By: Natasha Trelfa Email

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Spirit officials said even if Boeing workers accept the contract in Saturday's vote, it could be January before Spirit workers are back up to a five day work week. They'll also be facing an expanded shut down this holiday season.

"It's not an ideal situation. We want to be working 5 days a week. Our employees would love to be working full time, but I think they understand it was better than the alternative," said Debbie Gann, the Vice President of Corporate Communications with Spirit.

As Boeing workers prepare to vote on a contract to end a seven week strike, Spirit workers are keeping a close eye on the vote as well.

"We're looking forward to them getting the contract and looking it over," said Kathy Petersen, a Spirit worker.

Spirit has been on three day work weeks during the strike a move the company made in 2005, in an effort to avoid layoffs.

"While it's been a hardship, and it's been difficult, we still think it's been the best decision." said Gann.

Officials say that three day work week will continue, possibly through January, even if Boeing workers accept the contract because of the back log of work.

"A lot of it depends on Boeing ramping up it's schedule. If they ramp up faster, then we can get production moving faster," said Gann.

The strike caused deliveries to Boeing to drop. Spirit makes fuselages to send to Boeing and reports 9 fewer units were shipped, costing Spirit $53 million during the third quarter.

"It was a significant financial hit for us," said Gann.
Spirit Aerosystems workers will have longer holiday breaks than they expected.

The plane maker announced today its expanding shutdown periods over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Spirit will shut down the plant the entire week of Thanksgiving, November 24th-28th. Typically the plant is closed on Thanksgiving and the day after.

Three days will be added to the December holiday shutdown. The plant will close December 21st with work scheduled to resume January 5th.

Spirit spokesperson Debbie Gann said the changes are in response to the walkout by Boeing Machinists. Gann said Spirit employees can use vacation, sick leave or time off without pay.

"It's been a long strike and I think it we're ready for it to be over," John Lowe, a Boeing worker.

"Bottom line, we're all feeling the affects of this but that doesn't mean we're not standing behind our brothers and sisters at 834 completely and 100 percent," said Petersen.

Spirit officials did mention that should the Boeing strike continue, the company would have to reevaluate its three day work week plan and possibly modify it.

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