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SPEEA members approve Spirit contract 92 percent of the members who voted supported the deal

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, at 7:25 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at 7:05 a.m.

Spirit AeroSystems’ engineering union members overwhelmingly accepted the company’s offer of a six-year contract Tuesday.

“This is the first contract that I’m aware of where there were absolutely no takeaways,” said Bob Brewer, Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace Midwest director. “We were very pleased with the outcome.”

Spirt recognized the engineers and what they bring to the company, he said.

“There’s a lot of core competencies right here in Wichita that aren’t anyplace else in the world,” Brewer said.

According to union officials, 92 percent of the 252 members who voted supported the pact.

SPEEA represents 811 engineers at Spirit, and 451 members were eligible to vote.

“I think it’s a good example of compromise,” said Tim Banta, 57, who’s worked for Spirit and Boeing before that for 30 years. “Neither side got all they wanted, but I think both sides got a good deal.”

Banta was most concerned about health care and retirement benefits, he said.

“I like that it contained the health care costs,” Banta said.

Union negotiators and its council had unanimously recommended acceptance of the deal, which included a minimum salary guarantee fund of 3 percent in the second and fourth year of the contract, with funds in the remaining years to be based on the market, union officials said.

Tom Scripsick, a liaison engineer, said before the vote that he would be surprised if the contract didn’t pass.

“It’s a good deal,” Scripsick said.

The contract that was approved also includes compensated travel time, increases to an incentive award plan, a $2,500 ratification bonus, premium-free dental coverage and improvement on job security issues and outsourcing.

Under the proposal, engineers would pay 15 percent of the cost of insurance premiums next year, followed by 16 percent in 2014, 18 percent in 2015 and 20 percent in the remaining years.

The contract also includes financial incentives to reduce employees’ cost of insurance premiums throughout the life of the contract.

At the same time, the plan offers better coverage and lower co-pays and deductibles, union officials said.

And it provides improved job security related to outsourcing.

Main table negotiations began Oct. 29.

SPEEA members voted at Curtis Middle School.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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