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Union concerns over COVID-19 and Spirit AeroSystems response

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Some union leaders this week say Spirit AeroSystems needs to provide gloves and masks to employees still working on military and 787 lines of production.

Cornell Beard, district representative for IAMAW Lodge 70, says Spirit is doing a great job with providing hand sanitizer. But he says workers would benefit from personal protective equipment.

“Just the lack of PPE,” said Beard. “The fear of taking something back home to your families, you know that’s a huge problem that we are facing today.”

Beard praised Spirit AeroSystem leadership for providing many workers with full pay while being at home.

But Beard also says he has concerns about workers that remain on call to go to work. Beard says many maintain a social distance but not always on the shop floor.

“They’ve got a business to run,” said Beard. “At a minimum, we should have the proper PPE to put out a product. And I think people are willing to do that but they have got to make a choice now. Do I go in and risk it?”

Spirit AeroSystems Sr. Manager of Communications is Keturah Austin.

Austin says the company is diligent about cleaning and says the company continues to take seriously the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The health and safety of Spirit AeroSystems employees, their families, and the communities where we live and work are our overriding concern as we manage the impact of COVID-19 on our business and industry,” said Austin.

Austin said the company continues to be pro-active by monitoring and making changes as circumstances dictate to keep workers safe.

“Spirit continues to operate globally to meet our commitments to our commercial and defense customers, while following the directions issued by the government and health agencies where we operate,” said Austin. “We have taken a number of precautionary actions to ensure the well-being of employees at all of our facilities. These include restricted travel for employees; eliminating face-to-face meetings at our facilities; allowing employees to work from home where possible to limit exposure; and enhanced cleaning procedures at our facilities, as well as other safety measures. We have also halted all visits to our facilities and suspended community service activities.”

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