Spirit AeroSystems begins laying off 360 in Wichita

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WICHITA, Kansas – Layoffs began Thursday morning at Spirit AeroSystems.

The plane parts supplier plans to lay off about 360 employees at its Kansas and Oklahoma facilities.

KSN News crews talked to one person who confirmed he was laid off.

“They didn’t tell me anything. It’s just a reduction in force, and they needed to reduce head count,” said Dennis Kraus, worked at Spirit for seven years.

Kraus says he found out about the layoff when he arrived at work.

“A lady came by my desk and said did you get a notice. I said of course I really haven’t looked. She said well you had better check. Sure enough, there was a meeting notice right there.”

On Wednesday, union officials started bracing for the layoffs.

Ray Goforth, executive director at SPEEA, said once the layoffs go ahead, they will file a lawsuit very quickly.

“We will litigate against them,” says Goforth. “This appears to be in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. We’ve already been working with our lawyers today (Wednesday) and if the company goes ahead with this, we are going to be litigating against them real quick.”

Spirit says it’s trying to cut overhead costs, increase efficiency and improve performance.

Spirit, which makes large sections of airplanes assembled by companies such as Boeing and Airbus, saw its first-quarter net income rise 10 percent as demand for commercial planes increased.

Spirit remains a strong company with a robust backlog of approximately $36 billion.

Also, a British newspapers is reporting that car and plane parts maker GKN may launch a bid to buy Spirit.

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