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Machinists at Spirit vote to accept latest contract offer, end strike

Local lodge 839 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) sits across from Spirit facilities off of K-15.
Daniel Caudill
Local lodge 839 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) sits across from Spirit facilities off of K-15.

It's their first new contract since 2010.

A strike at Spirit AeroSystems has ended after union workers voted Thursday to accept the company’s latest contract offer.

The contract makes all weekend overtime voluntary and makes no changes to existing health care plans. Workers will see an average annual wage increase of 5% over the contract’s four years.

Many Machinists members who voted to strike last week said they rejected Spirit’s first offer due to increased health insurance costs and mandatory overtime on Saturdays.

“It’s never an easy decision to make when voting to go out on strike, but our membership felt that excluding vital medication in their core insurance plan was unacceptable,” International Association of Machinists Southern Territory Chief of Staff Craig Martin said in a news release. “I am proud of the negotiating committee and the membership for standing strong together.”

Sixty-three percent of the workers voted in favor of the contract.

“We listened closely to our employees and brought forward a fair-and-competitive offer,” Spirit President and CEO Tom Gentile said in a statement. “With its approval by our IAM-represented employees, we look forward to getting back to the important work of delivering quality products to our customers.”

It’s the union’s first new contract since 2010. Its previous contract expired in 2020 but was extended for three years after production temporarily stopped on the Boeing 737 MAX.

"Thank you for all your hard work and tireless hours on the strike line," Cornell Beard, president of Machinists Local 839, District 70, said in a post on the union's Facebook page. "I know some of you went above and beyond.
"Let's work hard to set ourselves up for the big win in four years as well."

Most of the 6,000 striking workers are expected to return to Spirit on Wednesday. Spirit officials said they will begin preparing the factory on Friday for a return to production.

The six-day strike was the first at the facility since 1995, when it was owned by Boeing.

Spirit is Boeing’s largest supplier and Wichita’s largest private employer.

Click here to read more details about the new contract.

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