SPEEA Speaks Out Against Spirit's Firing Of Three Dozen Workers

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

More than three dozen employees were fired by Spirit AeroSystems Wednesday and Thursday sparking accusations from the company's engineering and technical and professional union that Spirit violated union contacts.

"[Spirit] came to employees yesterday, called them to a meeting and terminated them on the spot without following any of the contractual policies and procedures," said Bob Brewer, Midwest Director for SPEEA.

Brewer says the firings came as a surprise to the employees who the union says were told they were terminated for performance issues.

He says most of the employees who were fired have no documented performance problems. In his opinion, they were fired without cause in violation of their union contracts and Spirit's own policies and procedures.

SPEAA plans to file a grievance.

"Spirit talks about their values, talks about dignity and respect but I think this flies in the face of what they really put out there," Brewer said.

Brewer says if there were performance issues, the employees should have been placed on a progressive discipline plan. He says that did not happen.

Instead, Brewer says the company told the union it was "trying to send a message."

"I think they are using fear techniques," Brewer said.

In a statement to the media, SPEEA detailed its frustrations and also said this is another bad move by CEO Jeff Turner.

Spirit spokesman Jarrod Bartlett declined to speak on camera but issued this statement in response to SPEEA's accusations:

"Spirit does not discuss personnel matters publicly and will not stoop to the level of responding to personal attacks made in SPEEA's memo."

Spirit employs about 11,000 people in Wichita.

"A company the size of Spirit has people entering and exiting the company all the time," Bartlett said in an email.

But Brewer says even so, people shouldn't be exiting the company like this.

"We are going to fight this with everything we got," Brewer said.

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