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Machinists Union endorses second contract offer from Spirit

Spirit workers encourage passing drivers to honk their horns on the picket line on Saturday. As the strike at Spirit enters its fourth day, the Machinists union has endorsed a second contract offer from the company.
Daniel Caudill
/
KMUW
Spirit workers encourage passing drivers to honk their horns on the picket line on Saturday. As the strike at Spirit enters its fourth day, the Machinists union has endorsed a second contract offer from the company.

Workers will vote Thursday on the new contract proposal. 

The Machinists Union on Tuesday recommended its 6,000 members approve a new contract offer from Spirit AeroSystems. Union workers at the facility have been on strike for four days.

Under the new contract proposal, all weekend overtime would be voluntary. Only Sundays were voluntary under the previous offer.

The contract would also make no changes to existing health care plans.

Increased health insurance costs and reduced coverage for certain medications under the initial offer were key concerns among workers who rejected it.

“This contract is an industry-leading agreement that should make our members extremely proud,” read a statement from the union. “The committee listened to our membership and has done an excellent job addressing our members’ needs.”

The new proposal would increase annual raises by 1% in the second and third years of the contract, and by 2% in the fourth year.

It would also raise cost-of-living adjustments to a maximum of 3.5% per year — up from 2.5% per year under the previous offer — with the full adjustment guaranteed in the first year of the contract.

Workers on the picket line Wednesday had mixed reactions to the new proposal. Chris Gresham says he's worked at Spirit since 2006.

“It kind of makes me feel a little bit disrespected that our second contract wasn’t our first offer, when we deserve more than our second contract,” he said.

Union members will vote Thursday on the new offer. If they approve it, they will receive a $3,000 ratification bonus. It would be their first new contract since 2010.

Spirit, the city’s largest employer, began negotiating a new contract for about 7,800 workers with a local chapter of the Machinists Union in May. Their previous contract expired in 2020 but was extended for three years after production temporarily stopped on the 737 MAX.

Although Machinists leaders endorsed Spirit’s first contract offer last week, workers rejected it and voted to go on strike. Spirit and the union have continued negotiations during the strike with the help of a federal mediator.

This is the first time workers at the facility have gone on strike since 1995, when it was owned by Boeing.

Click hereto read more details on Spirit’s latest contract offer.

Daniel Caudill reports on Kansas state government for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service.
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