WICHITA, Kansas - Aircraft parts maker Spirit Aerosystems is laying off 150 salaried and management workers.
Last month, the company announced it had plans to cut more jobs at its plant in Wichita, starting in September.
Spirit says a significant number of salaried employees have expressed interest in voluntary retirement and voluntary layoff programs.
The company is offering a lump sum severance payment and career transition services to employees who are laid off, and a lump sum severance payment and enhanced healthcare and pension options to eligible employees who decide to participate in the voluntary retirement program.
Union leaders say the company is gutting itself of experienced leadership.
"The company went through and asked for volunteers, but we always expected another round like today. Is there more to come? That's a great question for management," said Bill Dugovich, SPEEA.
At the same time, the company says it is hiring several hundred more factory workers, including assembly, composite, metals and process mechanics, and quality inspectors.
The company says its remains strong, with a "robust backlog" of orders worth about $38 billion.
That has Spirit worker Jeff Porter optimistic.
"Yeah, we are up to 38 a month right now, and it will jump up next year to 42."
Spirit has about 11,000 employees in Wichita and 2,500 at its plant in Tulsa, making large airplane components for such manufacturers as Boeing and Airbus.
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