Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace leaders recommend union members reject Spirit AeroSystems’ offer of a long-term labor agreement when they vote next week.
“We were looking at a 10-year deal, but we couldn’t get the right protections in place for the employees,” said SPEEA Midwest director Bob Brewer.
The contract affects about 2,300 technical and professional employees at Spirit. Union members will vote July 28 on the offer.
Spirit’s goal is to keep the company healthy and its team intact, said spokesman Ken Evans.
“That takes into account the company’s future and our employees, who we absolutely want to be fair with,” Evans said of Spirit’s offer.
Spirit sought a “market-based” package, the union said, but it also wanted to cap salary pools.
“With their caps, we could move significantly below market — which is outside their (Spirit’s) philosophy — and not have any way to make it up,” Brewer said.
The union was willing to accept additional risks in exchange for removal of the caps, he said, which were set at 3æpercent a year.
“We never could get that,” Brewer said.
Another issue was a proposed bonus plan that would be the lowest for any group of salaried employees at Spirit, he said.
“We don’t understand that,” he said.
The offer also incrementally increased the amount employees pay for health insurance from 10æpercent of the costs to 20æpercent by the end of the contract.
“We will be running a vigorous ‘Vote no’ campaign during the next two weeks,” Ray Goforth, SPEEA’s executive director, said in an e-mail.
Goforth described Spirit’s proposal in a Twitter post as one “riddled with poison pills.”
Spirit’s Evans declined to respond directly to the comment but said he is “shocked and disappointed at some of the reaction I’ve seen.”
The company will work to explain the facts of what the proposal contains, Evans said.
Should members reject the contract at next week’s vote, the goal isn’t to strike but to return to the negotiating table, Brewer said.
“Our intent is to sit (back) down with the company, reach an agreement and back away from the table saying we really accomplished something,” Brewer said.