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Update: Spirit AeroSystems' engineering union recommends acceptance of new contract

The negotiating team for Spirit AeroSystems‘ engineering union is recommending engineers accept the company’s offer of a new agreement.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace represents more than 700 Spirit engineers. The company presented the union with its offer on Thursday.

SPEEA will mail out ballots to members on Friday. Officials will begin to tabulate them beginning at noon on July 23. In the meantime, the union will hold lunchtime meetings nearly daily to explain the offer and answer questions, said SPEEA Midwest director Bob Brewer.

The company and the union held fruitful discussions, said Spirit spokesman Ken Evans.

“We recognize that we needed to put forward an offer that was prudent in this economic time and also further align our package with the market,” Evans said.

Unlike previous offers, Spirit's proposal offers wage pools using market benchmarks based on the overall market for engineers. It also includes a variable pay plan.

The good news is there remains a market for engineers around the country, Brewer said. "You just don't see that going away."

The plan also contains some risk.

"(The variable pay plan) could be very rewarding if the economy picks back up, and the company performs well," Brewer said. But "it's a little risk-reward factor put into this thing."

The offer increases medical contributions on one health insurance plan, but decreases costs in another plan. Spousal co-payments were eliminated in the offer. But co-payments for office visits increase, Brewer said.

The offer included increases in life insurance and vision benefits.