Spirit employees search for jobs amid layoffs

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Thousands of employees from Spirit and other companies within the 737 Max supply chain are searching for jobs amid layoffs and some of those include people who haven’t received their layoff notice yet.

“A lot of sad and upset people,” said Kaylon Kirkwood, laid-off worker at DB Schenker. “They’re just trying to figure out a way to cope with this.”

Spirit workers are in fear of being laid off and others have already received the dreadful call.

“That was a tough pill to swallow because I don’t know how I’m going to pay for things and live life,” said Kirkwood. “Right now, I’m just trying to overcome that.”

Some employees said they were called in with hundreds of their co-workers to fill out exit paperwork after being laid off.

“They really need to know every avenue of generating or getting income,” said Cornell Beard, union president, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Those laid off fall into a variety of demographics. Workers vary in age, work experience, and length of employment.

“Even people who have been there longer than 15 years are still getting laid off,” said Kirkwood. “It’s just crazy right now.”

It’s unclear when production for the 737 Max could resume, but union officials said it won’t be a fast return to normalcy.

It’s not just employees who are filled with worry. One fear for big companies is that their laid-off workers won’t return if they’re called back.

“When we do start getting back up and going, it won’t be right away at the same rate we left,” said Beard. “We’ll have to gear up. I still believe that Spirit’s main issue with this is not getting our experienced help back.

The Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas said it will be scheduling more job fairs in the near future for laid-off workers.

Spirit will continue to pay laid-off employees through March 10. After that, they will be able to apply for unemployment benefits.

Employees at DB Schenker said those who received lay-off notices will continue working for sixty more days.

For a list of all the resources available to laid-off workers, click here.

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