Spirit considers layoffs as Boeing strike persists

Spirit AeroSystems, which already has some employees on a shortened work week because of the Boeing strike, may resort to layoffs if the strike continues into November.

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Several news organizations are reporting that aerospace structures supplier Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan.) is considering employee layoffs if a machinist strike at The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.) continues into November. Most employees at Spirit have been on a three-day work schedule since the machinists union went on strike Sept. 6. Spirit employs about 10,500 people in Wichita.

According to reports, Spirit president and CEO Jeff Turner said in a memo to employees on Oct. 15 that the company must look at other alternatives beyond a shortened workweek for employees who support Boeing production programs. "These alternatives, in the worst case, include the possibility of broad shutdowns and temporary layoffs, possibly as early as November," Turner said in the memo. "Hopefully, this alternative can be avoided."

Boeing Machinists went on strike after rejecting the company's contract offer by an overwhelming margin. About 27,000 Machinists, including 750 at Boeing Wichita, walked off the job. Talks between the union and Boeing were restart on Oct. 12, but fell apart a day later with no apparent progress made.