Boeing supplier and union reach tentative contact, end strike
Jun 28, 2023, 3:11 PM
(Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images)
Spirit AeroSystems, a Kansas-based Aerospace company, has reached a tentative settlement with striking machinists, allowing several key pieces of Boeings aircraft to go back into production.
Spirit AeroSystems said that they have worked out a new four-year contract proposal with the union representing the machinists Local Lodge 839 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
“We listened closely and worked hard in our talks over the last several days to further understand and address the priorities of our IAM-represented employees,” said Tom Gentile, President and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems. “We believe this new offer is fair and competitive and recognizes the contributions of our employees covered under this proposed agreement, enabling our ability to meet the growing needs of our customers and deliver value for our investors.”
The IAM and Spirit AeroSystems are coming off a 10-year contract agreement negotiated in 2010, with a three-year extension in 2020.
The new contract includes no mandatory weekend overtime and a wage increase of 9.5% with a guaranteed increase of 23.5% over the life of the contract.
The 6,000 members of IAM employed at the company had previously rejected contracts with Spirit AeroSystems that the company called their “best and final offer.”
“The IAM’s dedicated and hardworking membership at Spirit AeroSystems has worked without fail during tumultuous times, including a pandemic that saw everything grind to a halt. Most of our members have concluded that the company’s offer is unacceptable. IAM District 70 and Local 839 will regroup and begin planning the following steps to bring the company back to the table.” IAM said in a statement about the rejection.
The contract was rejected by 79% of members, and 85% voted to strike. The workers then went on strike starting June 24.
Spirit AeroSystems builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737, portions of the 787 fuselages, and the flight deck of the planes.
Boeing had previously urged both sides to come to an agreement saying that they were worried how a strike could affect production schedules for their airplanes.
“Even if they tried to get ahead of it by virtue of their current production, that will be measured in weeks, not in months, so we’re supporting them in every way possible to get to a constructive answer,” Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said to Reuters.
The union members can vote to approve the contract Thursday, June 29, which would end the strike and see workers return to the manufacturing floor by July 5.