Spirit engineers approve contract

Spirit AeroSystems engineers ratified the company's contract, after twice rejecting previous offers.

Eighty-seven percent of the union members who voted approved the contract.

Two hundred sixty-six voted in favor while 40 voted against.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace represents about 785 Wichita engineers.

Union negotiators recommended acceptance of the offer, which they said was improved from the previous ones.

Negotiations began June 9. A federal mediator was called in for the latest round of talks. Last time, members also approved a strike authorization.

The three and a half year contract includes a guaranteed 3 percent bonus in 2010, guaranteed minimum increases in 2011 and 2012 and increases from market salary pools that are uncapped.

It also includes bonuses based on whether Spirit meets market targets and compensation for all hours of overtime worked, either in pay or comp time.

In addition, employees will have priority over contract labor during layoffs and shortened work weeks.

The cost of medical insurance premiums will rise from 10 percent to 15 percent for the life of the contract.