Thursday, July 25, 2013
The union representing many of the Spirit AeroSystems employees who were laid off Thursday says it may pursue legal action against the company.
Carrie Blackwood, a representative for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, said the union believes Spirit's layoff of 360 employees violates the latest collective bargaining agreement between the company and SPEEA. Blackwood said the union's priority immediately after the layoffs was to let employees know what their rights were.
"It's a very difficult situation that they're in because what the employer has chosen to do is really break their commitments to the employees," she said.
Blackwood said SPEEA and many of its members will likely appeal the layoffs, but she said legal action is also on the table.
"The employer lawyered up really well to find every loophole and way they could manipulate this contract to hurt the employees and we have to put our legal team together to say, 'How do we support our employees when everything's gone wrong,'" she said.
Former employees who attended an informational meeting with SPEEA leaders Thursday afternoon said they were just trying to decide what to do next.
"Just wait and see what happens, basically," said Curtis Vines, who worked for Boeing and then Spirit AeroSystems for a combined 33 years. "They're going to appeal it. Give it some time. See what they do."
Roger Sellers, who worked for both companies for a combined 35 years, said he is hopeful some of the employees who lost their jobs will be able to find employment, though he said those positions may not be in Wichita.
"I think there's going to be some job openings for people, so I think there'd be some potential for people to get jobs," Sellers said. "I really do."
Blackwood said SPEEA's response is about more than just protecting its members. She said employees everywhere are facing many of the same issues.
"This is something that all of our communities are facing about how our companies are starting to treat us differently."