Dec 12, 2011

Wichita Technical & Professional members
approve Spirit contract

WICHITA, KS – With more than six months of tough negotiations behind them, technical and professional members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, today (Dec. 12) approved a new contract with Spirit AeroSystems.

The 9½-year agreement, covering 2,300 employees, provides a $2,000 signing bonus before the end of the year, annual market-based raises starting in 2012, participation in the Spirit Incentive Plan and increases restrictions on the company's use of contract labor.

Voting took place this afternoon at Curtis Middle School. The tally showed approval by 72%, with 548 "Yes" and 210 "No" votes. A second issue on the ballot seeking strike authorization power for the negotiation team if the contract was rejected was approved by 82.5% of members. The contract goes into effect immediately.

Union negotiators and the SPEEA Midwest Council unanimously recommended members approve the contract.

"This has been a long process but in the end the company listened to their employees and made significant improvements to their initial offer," said Bill Hartig, chair of SPEEA's Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU) negotiation team. "The contract accepted by the members today provides for both the health of the company and the well-being of our families and community."
Contract Vote Accept Reject %
Vote Count 548 210 72%
Ballots Cast Issued  
  758 782  
Strike Authorization Yes No %
  633 111 82.5%

Main table negotiations started in June and continued past the previous contract's expiration on July 11. Membership in the union surged after Spirit's initial contract offer was overwhelmingly rejected on July 28 by 96.5% of voting union members.

"The increase in membership was a huge factor," said Bob Brewer, SPEEA Midwest Director. "The company saw that and started listening."

For months, union leaders held lunchtime meetings to raise awareness and keep members informed of progress.

The contract is the first time SPEEA negotiated a long-term agreement. The length was made possible by the mutual agreement to use the independent Salary Information Retrieval System (SIRS) by Mercer, LLC, to determine salary pools for annual raises. Annual funds starting in 2012 will be the SIRS market increase, with 0.5% reserved for promotions and out-of-sequence raises.

"Using the SIRS data guarantees the bargaining unit will maintain its relationship in the aerospace market," Brewer said. "Maintaining that relationship, and the market relationship of other economic factors, is significant because it ensures employees and the company remain competitive in the aerospace market throughout the life of the contract."

The contract also puts WTPU employees into the Spirit Incentive Plan. The 2012 payout will be a minimum of 3% to a maximum of 6%. The following two years, the target is 4% with a maximum of 8%. Years 2015 to 2020, the target is 6%, with a maximum of 12%.

Dec. 2, 2011
WTPU contract vote Dec. 12 and lunchtime meeting schedules

The contract vote for the Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU) will take place at the Curtis Middle School auditorium, Monday, Dec. 12. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the presentation by the Negotiation Team begins at 5 p.m., followed by voting.

Who can vote?
Voting is only for dues-paying members represented by the WTPU. If you are not a member and would like to vote, you can sign a membership card at Curtis Middle School (1031 South Edgemoor St.) at the meeting (prior to voting). Photo identification will be required.

Absentee ballot
If you are a member who is unable to vote in person because of travel, you can request an absentee e-mail ballot.

  • You must state your reason for this request in your reply. Examples: Working in Seattle or other travel assignments.
  • You must include your employee ID.
  • Send an email to Terry Hall, at
  • Deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. (CST), Tuesday, Dec. 6. Your absentee ballot must be returned by 8 a.m. (CST), Monday, Dec. 12.

Confidential but not anonymous
Absentee ballots are returned to a special Tellers e-mail address, so the voter cannot be anonymous. The ballot will be counted and verified by at least two Tellers. A printout of the ballot will be sealed and retained as a voting record.  

When will contract votes be counted?

The ballots will be counted immediately after the ballot box closes Dec. 12. The results will be announced at and on the local news at 10 p.m.

Lunchtime meetings




Mon. Dec. 5

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

IPB II Conf. Room Q-2

11:30 a.m. to  12:30 p.m.

Plant 2 Wood Balcony Room 234

12 to 1 p.m.

Flight Line Bldg., 4-118F, Room 102

6 to 7 p.m.

2nd floor Cafeteria Bldg., Conf. Rm. 212

Tues. Dec. 6

11 a.m. to noon

Bldg. 1-255K Conference Room 205

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Bldg. 2-265P Mic Room

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

CMF Room 250-251

Wed. Dec. 7

11 a.m. to noon
11 a.m. to noon

Bldg. 5-5064 Room 203
Bldg. 2-280J Section 9 Conf. Rm 028

Thurs. Dec. 8

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Bldg. 1-198D Nacelle Conf. Rm 200

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

IPB III Auditorium

Fri. Dec. 9

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Cafeteria Bldg. 2-333B Room 361


Added Dec. 5, 2011

Attached is an updated personal impact worksheet that can be used to determine how this offer may affect you under many scenarios.

Changes from the last worksheet:

• Eliminated the market salary increase limit (the cap)

• Eliminated the up to 1% of salary pools at risk based on company performance

• Eliminated the 0.5% reduction for promotions in 2016 (the analysis assumes comparatio of 0.97 or below in 2016 and afterwards)

• Eliminated the 2.5% long term incentive in 2016 and 2019

• Increased M&S Target bonus from 3,3,3,3,3,5,5,5,5,5 to 3,3,4,4,6,6,6,6,6,6

This cost impact worksheet does not include:

• Any cash from the gainshare program

• Any cash from the healthcare auditing incentive

• Any savings from moving from the Core plan to the Enhanced plan (most will do that in 2015 or 2016 when the premiums for the Core plan exceed the premiums for the enhanced plan plus the annual deductible minus the personal care account).

Summary: The November offer is significantly better during times of poor company performance because 1% of salary pools are no longer at risk. The November offer is significantly better during times of good company performance because the structure of the bonus program pays more than the July offer. The more market wages increase, the better this November offer becomes, because there are no salary caps on the wage pools.

November 29, 2011
WTPU lifts offer for members to vote

The Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU) Negotiation Team lifted an offer for members to vote, after concluding negotiations with Spirit AeroSystems, Tuesday, Nov. 29. The WTPU Negotiation Team and WTPU Council unanimously recommend members approve this offer. Spirit made significant improvements to its previous offer.

Like the last offer, the vote on this contract will occur following an all-member meeting, which will be scheduled to take place within the next two weeks.

Council Reps are setting up lunchtime meetings with the SPEEA Negotiation Team to present the tentative agreement, review contract changes and answer questions. Watch the website or ask your Council Rep for the time of meetings in your area.

If you are not a member and wish to vote on the contract, join now. Contact your SPEEA Council Rep or come to the SPEEA office at the lower level of the Parklane Shopping Center (973 S. Glendale St.)

Thank you for your support during these months of negotiations.

November 15, 2011
WTPU returns to negotiations with Spirit

Watch the message to members from
SPEEA President Tom McCarty

Negotiations resume Tuesday (Nov. 15) with Spirit AeroSystems in our continued effort to secure a contract for employees in the Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU).

With more than 52% of represented employees now full union members, our efforts are focused on negotiating a contract that meets the needs of all stakeholders.

Rejected by 96.5% of union members, Spirit's first offer showed no respect for employees who spent the past six years building Spirit from a new company into a profitable world-leading aerospace supplier. With an order backlog of $29 billion, Spirit today is a major supplier to The Boeing Company, Airbus, Sikorsky, Gulfstream and others. The company is successful and its future is very bright.

Oct. 26, 2011 - WTPU Negotiations 2011

SPEEA membership tops 50%!

Thank you and welcome to all the new members who joined SPEEA during the past month! For the first time in nearly a decade, more than 50% of the employees in the Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU) are full members.

Spirit's executive management must now face the fact that the majority of employees in the WTPU find the company's offer regressive, too long in duration at 10 years, and as such, is unacceptable.

The WTPU Negotiations Team met Wednesday (Oct. 26) to plan go-forward strategy and steps. We will contact the federal mediator this week to reconvene Main Table negotiations with Spirit.

While our contract has "officially" expired, all terms remain in place.

September 14, 2011

WTPU Negotiations 2011
Spirit’s claims vs. reality of talks with WTPU employees

Although the latest contract offer from Spirit shows slight improvement, the offer remains unacceptable and fails to meet the “partnership” values Spirit management states the company holds. This became clear when we sat down and compared the “claims” being made by Spirit management, with the “reality” of what is taking place during negotiations and in the workplace.

On Sept. 8, Spirit management negotiators did two things:

First: Management sent an email to employees describing the company’s approach to negotiations.

Second: A few hours after emailing employees, management presented an actual contract proposal to the SPEEA WTPU Negotiation Team. Unfortunately, there is a large gulf between their words and their actions.

Copies of the union’s last offer and
Spirit’s latest offer:

The email to employees on Sept. 8 makes claims that do not match the reality of Spirit actions:

The Claim: Align compensation with market and business performance, while providing baseline protection.

The Reality:

  • Spirit’s compensation offer neither aligns with market and business performance, nor provides any real protection. They offer a “market-based” salary adjustment plan, but then limit raise pools when the market exceeds 3%, as most estimates project. Management states they want us to participate in a bonus plan based upon our team’s performance, but the bonus they are offering remains below the amount given to all other salaried members of the “Spirit team.” Their alleged “market-based” pension offer falls far below pensions earned by employees at every other local aircraft manufacturer.  

The Claim: Ensure stability for our customers and competitiveness of the unit, through an enhanced partnership with a long-term agreement.

The Reality:

  • There is nothing in the company's offer that enhances whatever “partnership” we currently have. The management proposal says that they will listen to union concerns, but there are no provisions that require the company to act on those issues and concerns. Currently, every time the contract comes up for renegotiation, federal law requires Spirit management to address union concerns. The decade-long management proposal eliminates the requirement to negotiate with the union over its concerns and substitutes vague and unenforceable promises to listen to the union.

  • A decade-long agreement would provide predictability to customers. That much is true. However, WTPU members have been quite clear that we have no interest in a long-term agreement. Yet, the company continues to offer nothing but a long-term agreement. This unilateral determination does not illustrate the shared decision-making inherent in a true partnership. 

The Claim: Maintain the ability to quickly respond to our endless productivity challenges and our production cycles.

The Reality:

  • This is technically accurate. However, it does so by placing all the costs of business disruptions and production cycles on the backs of our coworkers. For example, if customer employees go on strike, then the burden falls on direct WTPU employees to go on short workweeks instead of contractors. If there are significant production impacts due to a 9/11-like event, then direct employees are permanently laid off while Spirit keeps off-site contractors employed. The company states that they want to “keep the team intact,” but their offer protects contractors instead of their full-time team.

The Claim: Provide health care options that align with the needs of our employees, as well as supporting the realities of the economic market conditions through the life of the contract.

The Reality:

  • The management proposal doubles the percent of medical premiums employees owe without any protections from runaway premium costs.

  • Vision and hearing benefit coverage remains static for a decade as actual costs increase (no benefit escalation provisions).

Our negotiation team has been willing to negotiate within the framework of Spirit’s stated values. The problem thus far is Spirit management’s unwillingness to give us an offer that aligns to those stated values.

 The management proposal:

  1. Puts salary caps on wages (if the market moves 5%, we’re capped at 3%).

  2. Creates special protections for contractors over regular employees in times of short workweeks and layoffs.

  3. Doubles the percent of medical premiums employees pay (from 10% to 20%) without any caps on how much cost-shifting can actually happen (employees will pay an increased percentage of a growing baseline). Current estimates are that this “doubling” of medical premiums will result in an actual quadrupling of costs to employees.

  4. Gives WTPU members the LOWEST bonus plan of any salaried group at Spirit.

  5. Waives any enforceable mechanism the union has to raise legitimate concerns.

  6. Locks these terms in place for a decade.

September 12, 2011

WTPU Negotiations 2011
SPEEA WTPU negotiations continue

On Thursday, Sept. 8, the Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU) Negotiation Team received a contract offer from the Spirit AeroSystems management negotiation team. This offer fell well short of acceptable. Discussions continued the next day and into the weekend but no deal was reached. 

Details and next steps will be forthcoming later in the week.

September 9, 2011

WTPU Negotiations 2011
Negotiations continue through weekend

Negotiations resumed Friday morning and will continue through the weekend.

September 8, 2011

WTPU Negotiations 2011
Negotiations resume with Spirit

We're working hard trying to get a deal that is in the interests of all the major stakeholders in Spirit AeroSystems (employees, shareholders, customers and suppliers).  Watch for updates by email an on the website.

September 7, 2011

WTPU Negotiations 2011
Main Table negotiations reconvene Thursday

The SPEEA WTPU Negotiation Team plans to resume negotiations with management at Spirit AeroSystems Thursday (Sept. 8).

The WTPU team remains hopeful this new session of talks, with the aid of a federal mediator, is productive. SPEEA is committed to negotiating a contract that protects the interests of all company stakeholders – including employees, shareholders, customers and suppliers.

August 26, 2011

WTPU Negotiations 2011
Spirit delays response to
counterproposal until Sept. 8

Thursday morning, the WTPU Negotiation Team presented a full and complete counterproposal to Spirit AeroSystems management. Spirit management did not ask questions or make any comments before leaving to meet in caucus.

After sitting in caucus for 6 hours, Spirit management sent word through the federal mediator that they would not be ready to respond to our counterproposal until noon, Friday. Our WTPU Negotiation Team showed up at noon, Friday, and learned Spirit management was still not prepared to respond.

After several discussions through the mediator, Spirit management agreed to return at 9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 8, to present an offer to the WTPU.

Download Counter Proposal Highlights

WTPU survey results show deep dissatisfaction at Spirit

The recent survey of employees in the Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU) reveals a deep dissatisfaction with the contract offer presented by Spirit AeroSystems.

Reading the comments submitted by bargaining unit employees, it is clear the dissatisfaction is felt by both union members and non-members.

Survey results show:

While none of the survey answers reached the 96.5% rejection of the contract vote, several of the specific questions showed disapproval rates of 95%. More than 850 valid responses were received with about 71% coming from full union members and 29% coming from employees in the bargaining unit who have not yet joined SPEEA. Employee IDs were used to verify eligibility. All answers and comments are confidential.

Compensation, salary pool caps, the bonus and doubling medical premiums were top reasons employees cited for voting against the Spirit offer. More than 95% of the respondents also said Spirit's plans to keep contract labor while allowing direct employees to face layoff or shorter work weeks is not consistent with the company's idea of valuing its "team" of employees.

Results showed more than 80% of employees disagree with Spirits "compensation philosophy" which calls for keeping salaries 3% below market and giving employees the "opportunity" to reach or slightly exceed market by receiving a bonus after reaching performance goals.

Nearly 95% of employees who answered the question said it is unacceptable for Spirit to cap wage increases at 3% for the first years of the contract offer.

Employees were split – 45% yes and 55% no – on allowing stock options, bonus pay or additional 401(k) contributions to secure pay above the Spirit salary raise caps.

One of the largest response rates came from the question that asked if employees agreed with Spirit's plan to cut medical costs by doubling employee premiums. An overwhelming 94.5% said "no." The questions included the explanation of how SPEEA presented multiple cost-saving proposals during negotiations. Read the health care auditing flier.

Just one-third of the respondents said the Spirit retirement plan was average or above. Another one-third (33.8%) said the Spirit retirement would not provide for them very well in retirement. The final third said they would need to work into retirement.

Hundreds of comments submitted by members and non-members tell the story of employee sentiment. The complete list of comments from verified employees who completed the survey are posted on the website at: WTPU Survey Comments. Comments are completely anonymous.

Information updates

Download the flier explaining SPEEA's proposal to save Spirit money: HealthCare Auditing

Watch the video about Spirit's contract offer to employees: Spirit's first contract offer

Read your Co-workers Comments from the WTPU Survey.

SPEEA Bargaining Units Contracts Timeline

WTPU contract negotiations

WTPU Message Archive


Download a .pdf of the chart Health Care Auditing.pdf

Computer Screen Backgrounds

Using images as a screen saver

To show strength and solidarity for WTPU negotiations, save the desired image and then following instructions for using as your computer's screen saver.

  1. From your desktop, right click your mouse, go to new, and folder, to create a new folder on your desktop.

  2. Right click on the image or images you want and use "Save As" to save the image to the folder you just created.

  3. Go to "Control Panel."

  4. Select "Display Properties" and then click on the "Screen Saver" tab

  5. Under "Screen Saver," use the drop down menu to select "My Picture Slideshow"

  6. Select "Settings"

Browse to the folder on your desktop and select OK and OK again. The images will rotate through as your screen saver.

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WTPU Negotiation Team
Spirit - Wichita Technical and Professional Unit (WTPU)


  • Bill Hartig (chair)
  • Earl Carter
  • Brenda Reiling
  • Mario Sanders
  • Terri Sullard
  • Bob Brewer, SPEEA Midwest director, will be their staff focal (chief spokesperson)

(chair listed first)

  • Compensation – Terri Sullard, Mario Sanders, Bill Hartig
  • Benefits – Earl Carter, Brenda Reiling
  • Workforce – Mario Sanders, Brenda Reiling
  • Labor Management – Bill Hartig, Earl Carter
Shown above: SPEEA members on the team from left: (Front) Terri Sullard and Brenda Reiling. (Back): Mario Sanders, Earl Carter, and Bill Hartig (chair).