Spirit employees who were slated to come back to work in less than two weeks will now have to wait until mid-August.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers confirmed Thursday that the 21-day furlough was extended to 60 days. Workers are scheduled to come back by Aug. 14.
“It was just in the best interest of the membership,” Union President Cornell Beard said, citing that the extension would ease the number of permanent layoffs.
Healthcare benefits will continue during the 21-day furlough, as well as contributions to the employee pension fund.
A memorandum between Spirit and the union cites COVID-19 and a reduced demand for aircraft as the reason for the extension.
June 10, 2020
Spirit Aerosystems will begin Monday a 21-day furlough for employees who work on the 737 MAX program.
In a message to employees, the company cited "continued impacts to the airline industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertainty surrounding the return to service of the 737 MAX."
The company said about 900 employees will be impacted by the move.
"This difficult decision was made to help safeguard the financial health and stability of the company. We acknowledge the hardship this will have on our employees, and we’re thankful for their commitment and understanding during this difficult time," said Spirit in a statement.
The aviation manufacturer said all Wichita hourly employees directly associated with the production work and support functions for the 737 programs will be impacted.
The company said mangers and HR Business Partners will contact employees whose positions are affected.
Healthcare benefits will continue during the 21-day furlough.
The company said it will also submit the names of the furloughed/laid-off employees to the State of Kansas, but it is up to each employee to file the initial and subsequent weekly claims.