WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) While the move wasn't unexpected, the president of the machinists union in Wichita says the official start to layoffs at Spirit AeroSystems Thursday was a development he was hoping wouldn't happen.
"It's pretty horrible. It's pretty sad that we're even dealing with this at all," Machinists Union President Cornell Beard says.
While disappointed and focused on helping employees impacted by Spirit's move, Beard points out the reason for the layoffs is out of the company's control.
"We can't blame it on Spirit. We can't blame it on the work that we're doing. This is 100 percent a Boeing issue and we're hoping they get it corrected soon," Beard says. "We're all very hopeful that this is just gonna be very short term.
Between now and Feb. 10, 2,800 Spirit employees are losing their jobs. Eyewitness news spoke with some union members Thursday who say there hasn't been enough communication from the union.
"People forget that you actually have people who re depending on you," Beard says. "I mean, you may not know them, I may not know everybody on the shop floor, but they depend on me."
Beard says there isn't a timeline for how long the layoffs will last, but says he is concerned that the more experienced workers losing their positions at Spirit will find another job out of state and won't return to Wichita.
"In my opinion, for the job market that we're in today, I still think our wages are below average and there are other companies outside that are willing to pay for experienced help," Beard says.
Beard says he wants good contracts and for employees to be treated fairly. It's a feeling, he says, isn't being reciprocated from Boeing.