WICHITA, Kan., June 29, 2023 – Approximately 6,000 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 839 (District 70) at Spirit AeroSystems voted today to ratify an improved four-year contract with the aerospace company. IAM members will return to work on Wednesday, July 5.
The newly ratified contract includes significant improvements over the previously rejected contract in wages, prescription drug coverage, and overtime rules. IAM members at Spirit AeroSystems have been on strike since Saturday, June 24.
Following the initial contract rejection on Wednesday, June 21, the Local 839 negotiating committee and the company returned to the table to continue talks. Both sides agreed to involve a federal mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to move the negotiation process forward. On Tuesday, June 27, the IAM negotiating committee and the company announced they had reached a second tentative agreement to present to the membership.
“We knew these negotiations were not going to be your typical set of talks,” said IAM Local 839 Chief Negotiator Jason Baze. “Our membership clearly said the original offer was unacceptable by rejecting it soundly. The committee returned to the table to address their concerns.”
IAM members at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita manufacture major aerostructures for companies such as Boeing and Airbus, as well as defense and business jets.
“At the end of the day, IAM members democratically decide what is acceptable to them during contract negotiations – and we always support their decision,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “These critical improvements demonstrate the power of collective bargaining. I am very proud of our Local 839 negotiating committee and membership.”
The IAM Local 839 negotiating committee unanimously recommended the proposal. Contract negotiations have been ongoing since May 1, 2023.
“It’s never an easy decision to make when voting to go out on strike, but our membership felt that excluding vital medication in their core insurance plan was unacceptable,” said IAM Southern Territory Chief of Staff Craig Martin. “I am proud of the negotiating committee and the membership for standing strong together.”
“The contract negotiating committee worked hard to bring an acceptable offer to the membership of Local 839,” said IAM Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative William (Benji) Sullivan. “Through the collective bargaining process, the membership saw the second tentative agreement as more acceptable in addressing their concerns. Great job all around.”
The four-year agreement takes effect on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is one of North America’s largest and most diverse industrial trade unions, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.