Thursday, July 25
Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. today announced that approximately 360 salaried support and management employees at its Kansas and Oklahoma facilities are receiving layoff notices. The company is offering affected employees severance benefits and career transition services.
In a news release, Spirit said "today's action is a strategic move to make the company more competitive in a cost-sensitive environment, and results from an ongoing workforce assessment designed to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiency and drive improved performance".
Spirit is Wichita's largest employer, with 11,000 full-time Wichita area employees.
Update - 9:10 a.m.:A SPEEA contract administrator just told KAKE's Chris Frank that he's spoken to seven people who have already been laid off this morning.
Update - 9:05 a.m.:Two Spirit employees have told KAKE's Jordan Shefte that they were laid off today. One of them told her the reason he was given was "staff reductions."
Rumors apparently have been spreading for weeks that Spirit AeroSystems will lay off staff. Spirit says it's only a rumor, but meetings during the morning could change all that.
Staff meetings were expected from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The Associated Press reports Spirit's human resources staff reserved 35 conference rooms. And the SPEEA engineering union predicts about 300 Spirit employees will lose their jobs.
Middle managers reportedly began spreading the word about job cuts.
A Spirit spokesman says the company has nothing to say right now. But SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth told KAKE News Wednesday any layoffs would be shocking.
"It makes no sense," Goforth said. "With the rate increases at the Boeing company and Airbus, Spirit should be on a hiring spree, not laying people off without notice."
If job cuts happen, there's a chance Wichita workers might be spared.
Spirit has plants in North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee, as well as branches in Europe and Asia.
Goforth says engineers, managers and information technology staff could be affected.