Spirit Reducing Work Week, Pay For Some Employees Amid Issues With 737 Max

Jun 7, 2019

Spirit AeroSystems is shortening the work week for some employees as a way to cut costs following the global grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jet earlier this year.

The company will go to a four-day week for all salaried employees working on commercial airplane programs, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace announced Friday. That includes management and executive employees, as well as Spirit's CEO and senior leadership.

The union says employees on the Strategic Defense program are not impacted.

The company is shortening the work week to 32 hours beginning June 21 for up to 10 weeks.

A spokesman for Spirit said in a statement Friday that the move is "part of the company's coordinated response to the temporary change in production rates for the Boeing 737 MAX."

Spirit produces about 70 percent of the Boeing 737 jet at its facility in south Wichita.

Boeing slowed its production of 737s to 42 per month; Spirit says its current production schedule hasn't been affected, but said last month that plans to ramp up production from 52 to 57 per month are on hold. Spirit has already reduced overtime and suspended new hiring as a way to cut costs.

"Spirit leadership recognizes the hardship these actions will have on our employees and has worked to identify options that will minimize the impact to employees and their families as much as possible," the company said in the statement.

The aerospace union says Spirit is in talks with the Kansas Department of Labor to provide limited unemployment benefits for the impacted employees.