Spirit, engineers union expect to start contract talks Monday

Spirit AeroSystems’ engineering union will present the company with its proposal for a new contract on Monday.

Main table negotiations will begin in October or November. The current four-year contract expires Dec. 2.

The proposal by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace will be available to members earlier in the day on Monday.

The union represents nearly 800 engineers at Spirit in its Wichita Engineering Unit.

SPEEA’s proposal is based on input from surveys, meetings and a review of how the current contract worked, SPEEA officials said.

The biggest issues are compensation and ensuring there are no changes to medical insurance, said B.J. Moore, a SPEEA contract administrator in Wichita.

“No takeaways,” is the goal, Moore said.

Subcommittees will begin meeting in coming weeks on a variety of issues, such as the use of contractors and health and safety, the union said.

SPEEA’s proposal is for a three-year contract. That’s much shorter than the contracts Spirit and its other unions negotiated in recent years.

The last negotiations with its Machinists union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Aerospace Workers and SPEEA’s Wichita Technical and Professional Unit produced contracts lasting in the nine- to 10-year range.

“Spirit’s goal with all of our labor unions is to develop enhanced partnerships that keep Spirit healthy and our team for the future intact,” said Spirit spokesman Ken Evans. “We believe this is accomplished through long-term agreements that ensure stability for our customers as well as the competitiveness of the unit.”