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Spirit lays off employees in Tulsa, offers early retirement package

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 6:07 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 6:58 p.m.

Spirit AeroSystems has laid off a small number of employees at its Tulsa, Okla., facility and is offering workers represented by the United Aerospace Workers an early retirement incentive package as it works to cut costs at the site.

Spirit did not release the number of layoffs, but it was a “small number,” said Spirit spokesman Jarrod Bartlett.

Spirit employs 3,000 people in Oklahoma, including 2,700 in Tulsa. Of those, 1,789 are represented by the UAW at the Tulsa site.

To qualify for the retirement incentive program, workers must be 55 or older, be represented by the UAW and have five or more years of experience.

“There’s not a target number of employees in this pool of employees that they’re trying to get to (take the retirement package),” Bartlett said. “This is one of the things that we’re doing to help get our costs in line with where the business needs to go.”

The reduction in work force through the layoffs and retirement incentives is part of a bigger transformation.

“We do have to focus on changing the cost structure, especially for our programs that are in Tulsa,” Bartlett said.

There are no plans for layoffs or a plan to offer similar retirement incentives in Wichita, he said.

“However, we wouldn’t speculate on what may or may not happen in the future to support the business,” Bartlett said.

Spirit took a $590 million charge to its new programs in the third quarter of 2012. A big portion of the charges were related to work done at the Tulsa facility.

Specifically, Spirit reported a $163 million charge on its Gulfstream G650 wing program; $151 million charge on the BR725, an engine nacelle package for the Gulfstream G650; and an $88 million charge on the Gulfstream G280 wing program. Work on those programs is done in Tulsa.

Spirit also took a $184 million charge on the Boeing 787 program and a $4 million charge on other combined programs.

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

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