The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) released information saying it will file a lawsuit Friday against Spirit AeroSystems regarding outsourcing of union jobs.
The IAM said in a news release Spirit is selling a key fabrication operation and using outside contractors for work that IAM employees currently handle.
Spirit Spokesman Ken Evans said, "Spirit is in full compliance with our union contracts and by practice, we don't comment or speculate on rumors or pending litigation. At this point, we have not seen a lawsuit. What we've seen is a press release about an intention to file one."
The IAM International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger said, “The new leadership at Spirit AeroSystems is embarking on the same misguided approach that caused customers to wait an extra two years for Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries. IAM-represented employees have shown time and again that they are the best aerospace workers in the world. They are the right choice to make Spirit AeroSystems successful for customers and shareholders.”
According to IAM, in Wichita, Spirit employees build fuselages for Boeing programs including nacelle, strut and pylon components. Employees also work on Bombardier C Series and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.
IAM said Spirit is planning to use other contractors for tool supply, shipping, paint stores and other support functions. IAM said Spirit is calling the change "insourcing," but IAM is calling it "outsourcing."
According to information from IAM, the change means some union employees will lose their jobs. IAM said the change would breach the agreement between the union and Spirit. Because of the alleged breach, IAM said it will request a federal district court to issue an injunction that would not allow Spirit to sell a fabrication unit or outsource any union jobs pending arbitration.
“Boeing learned the hard way that the more outside contractors on a project, the more production and delivery problems there are,” said Buffenbarger. “That’s why our agreement with Spirit AeroSystems calls for a strong partnership to make the company successful and create jobs for our members, the people who have a stake in Spirit’s success. We have worked hard to do our part, but the new leadership at Spirit seems determined to follow a course that just doesn’t work in the aerospace industry.”
According to IAM, the union represents 7,200 workers.