‘This is a 100% Boeing issue’: IAM president discusses Spirit layoffs

Local

Cornell Beard

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Cornell Beard, IAM District 70 president, discussed the layoffs at Spirit Aerosystems Thursday morning during a presser at district’s headquarters in Wichita.

The layoffs started Wednesday, and Beard says they will continue through Feb. 10. He says as of right now, there aren’t any new notices going out in Wichita. Spirit produces a large portion of Boeing 737 Max. The plane has been grounded since March.

The focus of IAM right now is working with affected employees.

“Our job is to make sure that every resource that is available for the employees is going out, that they are made aware of. Any support outside of that, we do that through the United Way. Anything that they need, that we have somewhere to direct them, that is our main function during the layoff,” Beard told KSN News.

Beard adds that state and local leaders have been helpful.

“The city has been very good. Gov. Kelly has been very good with the help that she has given us speeding up the processes for the exits and making a lot of different things available to those that are being affected by the layoff,” said Beard.

As for the future, Beard hopes Boeing can get the plane back in the air quickly.

“We can’t blame it on Spirt or the work that we are doing. This is a 100% Boeing issue. We hope that they get it corrected soon,” he added. “We don’t know when Boeing is going to be back in the good graces of the FAA.”

The faster that plane gets in the air, the better for trained aircraft workers.

“Our main issue with this is not getting our experienced help back. That is always a major concern. Everybody is looking for experienced help in aerospace,” said Beard. “There are other companies outside that are willing to pay for experienced help.”

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