Spirit file photo

After announcing voluntary layoffs earlier this week, Spirit AeroSystems announced plans for workforce reductions in McAlester later this month.

Spirit AeroSystems announced Friday that 2,800 employees from Wichita, Kansas will “start exiting the company” beginning Jan. 22. The company said it plans to “implement smaller workforce reductions later this month" for plants in Tulsa and McAlester.

The company said it is taking this action because of the production suspension of the Boeing 737 MAX “and ongoing uncertainty regarding the timing of when production will resume and the level of production when it does resume. This decision allows Spirit to begin aligning its cost structure to the production suspension and, after such suspension, what Spirit expects will be production levels lower than Spirit’s levels in 2019.”

According to the company, Spirit is a significant supplier on the 737 MAX program, with its work share accounting for 70 percent of the airplane’s structure. This includes the entire fuselage, thrust reversers, engine pylons and wing components. In addition, the MAX represents more than 50 percent of Spirit’s annual revenue.

The company said based on final production rates agreed to with Boeing “Spirit may have to take additional workforce actions in the future.”

“The difficult decision announced today is a necessary step given the uncertainty related to both the timing for resuming 737 MAX production and the overall production levels that can be expected following the production suspension,” said Tom Gentile, Spirit AeroSystems President and CEO. “We are taking these actions to balance the interests of all of our stakeholders as a result of the grounding of the 737 MAX, while also positioning Spirit to meet future demand.”

Spirit says the company has taken steps to “lessen the impact of expected layoffs” by transferring some affected employees to other programs where possible with plans to facilitate job fairs with other aerospace companies “to help laid-off employees transition to new jobs.”

“Our goal is to support Boeing and a safe return to service of the MAX,” added Gentile. “We continue to work with Boeing to develop a new production schedule for 2020 with an eye toward minimizing disruption, maintaining the stability of our production capabilities, and best positioning Spirit for the future. When production levels increase sufficiently in the future, we look forward to recalling employees impacted by today’s announcement.”

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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