Spirit offering voluntary retirement program to some employees

Spirit Aerosystems (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – Spirit AeroSystems is offering a voluntary retirement to management and salaried employees.

Ken Evans, spokesman for Spirit, says the program is open to employees based in Wichita and Kinston, North Carolina.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this program to certain long-term employees who are over 55 and have at least 10 years of service,” said Evans. “We are sharing details directly with eligible employees.”

Some workers are asking if the company will lay off employees, if Spirit does not get many takers on the early retirement offer.

“The retirements? They’re sending out care packages,” says Joe Truong, a sheetmetal welder at Spirit. “And they’re trying to take volunteers for the care packages. If they don’t get enough they are going to do the same round they did last time? So, my opinion of the outcome is, they have to eliminate higher paying jobs so they can bring in newer people with the lower paying. I don’t know how much they are paying these guys.”

Spirit is not saying if that is or is not the case. So, KSN asked local economist Jeremy Hill.

“Certainly, Spirit is a healthy company,” says Hill. “Spirit has a lot of product going out the door… especially on the 737 product. But, aerospace has been soft lately. Still, it’s a healthy company. People are supporting it. There’s a lot of demand for their products. I think it’s more looking at labor costs to they can be more nimble going forward.”

Evans is not adding any more information and said he would not comment on speculation. And, Evans adds that details of the retirement program are only being shared with those individuals who meet the criteria.

Evans did say Spirit is working to find the right balance between the management/salaried workers, hourly workers, and business and customer needs.

Spirit right now at a $41 billion backlog of orders.

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