Spirit AeroSystems Inc. is instituting pay raises for its employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, including an increased starting pay rate that answers a similar hike last month by Wichita's other major aviation manufacturer.

The city's largest employer confirmed to the WBJ on Thursday that the minimum hourly base pay rate for IAM members will increase from $16.91 to $20.50 effective Oct. 28. Those currently earning less than $20.50 will rise to that amount next week.

“We are making company culture stronger by focusing on our greatest asset: our employees," Spirit vice president Jay Hohl said in a statement. "As part of our people-focused mindset, we continue to look for ways to create more value for our employees in an effort to keep the great talent we have here at Spirit.”

The city's second-largest employer, Textron Aviation, initiated a 4% pay raise last month for existing hourly workers and raised starting pay to $20 per hour for new employees in positions directly related to aircraft manufacturing and services.

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