WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 839 has begun contract negotiations with Spirit AeroSystems.

Close to 6,000 International Association of Machinists workers see these negotiations as representing over 13 years without a fully negotiated contract. Spirit produces 70% of Boeing’s narrow-body aircraft and defense and business jet structures and the workers say they have given what Spirit AeroSystems needed to maintain the competitive edge with its technologies.

The IAM Members at Spirit extended the contract in 2010 after a 10-year initial agreement and again in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic but the current agreement ends at midnight on June 24, 2023.

“This contract is one of the biggest for the state and could potentially change the lives of over 7000 employees of Spirit AeroSystems, not to mention the community itself. Changing lives is one of the things we stand for, and changing the culture is what we do. This company has had 13 years to tell the employees how important they are. Now it’s time to show us. We want a more than deserved fair contract for the next three years,” said Cornell Beard, Directing Business Representative for District 70. "Even during the challenges of the pandemic and the 737 Max issues, our IAM members have faced uncertainty after uncertainty, all while continuing to produce efficient and exceptional quality products”, stated General Vice President Ricky Wallace. Thirteen years - it’s long past time for Spirit to sit down and craft an industry-leading agreement with our members.”