Cessnans Discover They Aren't Eligible for Workshare

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This is the third week for many Cessna employees on a shortened work schedule due to cutbacks. Some are wondering why they can't collect unemployment for days they're not working. Cessna employees have been calling KAKE News, wondering why they're not getting the same benefits Spirit employees did during the machinist strike.

Besides layoffs, the Cessna cutbacks announced last month include shortened work weeks for many. Some are on three day weeks, some four day weeks, until production rates stabilize.

"Right now it's been really hard," says one employee. "We've been really struggling with the unemployment issue."

The issue has to do with getting unemployment benefits for the days they're not working to get them to 40 hours if they don't have vacation or sick leave to make up the difference.

"It's hard on the paycheck that's for sure," says another employee. "We don't get unemployment and they really haven't told us yet."

Last fall, Boeing machinists went on strike. It forced many Spirit Aerosystems employees to three day work weeks. Those employees got unemployment benefits through the state department of labor's workshare program. A department spokesperson says Cessna requested the same program for their employees, but was turned down.

The spokesperson says the workshare program is intended to assist employers in short changes to their staffing needs. A Cessna spokesman says the company is continuing to talk to the state to try to get the unemployment benefits for its affected employees, but, for some, the issue might be going away. Cessna hasn't confirmed it yet, but some employees are saying the shortened week is going away for them.

"I'm a foreman and have been on a four day work week and my department is going back to its regular work schedule next week," says a third employee.

Getting back to a regular schedule certainly would resolve the issue for those employees. In the meantime, Cessna says the company continues to work the issue from their end. The workforce program is to try to help a company like Cessna keep as many employees as it can.

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