Spirit AeroSystems and its engineering union won’t open contract talks until later in the year, but work has already begun.
The union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, plans to have a proposal ready to present the company sometime in August.
Three negotiating team members, who are Spirit engineers and SPEEA members, will take contract negotiation training in June.
In late August, the union plans to move into subcommittee meetings before full negotiations begin.
The current contract expires Dec. 2. SPEEA represents nearly 800 Spirit engineers in Wichita.
The biggest issues and priorities are related to salary, job advancement, benefits and retirement, said Bob Brewer, SPEEA’s Midwest director.
“They’re losing a ton of engineers right now,” Brewer said, with attrition in the double digits.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” he said. “New programs have them in a bind for whatever reason. There’s a lot of pressure to meet targets. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but there’s some atmosphere.”
In addition, the engineering market is picking up, Brewer said.
“The market for engineering remains very competitive,” said Ken Evans, a Spirit spokesman. “As our numerous new programs get closer to production, we are working hard to balance our needs and resources both locally and with our engineering partners around the world.”