Business

March 28, 2014

Union alleges Spirit used health info in layoffs

Roxana Hegeman
Associated Press

The union representing engineers at Spirit AeroSystems Inc. accused the aerospace company March 26 of terminating hundreds of workers last year because they were too old and a burden on health insurance costs, claims that the company vehemently denies.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace made the allegations in discrimination complaints that 10 ex-employees filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming they were laid off after Spirit became a self-insured company.

The former workers also want the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether the Wichita, Kansas, aerospace company unlawfully obtained their confidential medical information.

Spirit AeroSystems said in an emailed statement that the union’s allegations are filled with distortions and misstatements, and that personal health information is not used to make layoff decisions.

Last July, Spirit laid off 360 salaried and managerial employees, including 221 SPEEA-represented engineers, technical workers and other professionals. Three weeks before the terminations, the company changed its medical coverage from an underwritten form of medical insurance to a self-funded insurance program. The union contends that change means every dollar not paid out in medical claims stays in the company’s bank account.

Among those who lost their jobs was Gail Haug, who went to work for Boeing in July 1974 and what became Spirit AeroSystems after Boeing sold its Wichita operations. He contends he had gotten high job performance ratings until he was reprimanded for speaking up during a crew meeting.

Haug, 61, told reporters at a news conference March 26 that his wife has medical issues.

It is hard to accept that Spirit would do this to us and take our medical – just when we will probably need it the most, he said.

He contends that an investigation of the layoffs by the union and its legal counsel showed an alarming trend in which a very high percentage of the terminated workers were older, had medical issues or had family members who did. Most had high work performance ratings just a year earlier.

When you factor in that Spirit became self-insured this last year, it became evident what was going on, Haug said. In order to save money, Spirit was willing to sacrifice its long-term employees.

Spirit contends that while terminations are always difficult, all such decisions are based on job-related, non-discriminatory criteria. It said the vast majority of affected employees accepted the company’s severance package.

These actions were required to balance the workforce, reduce overhead costs, and hire hourly workers for the factory, the company said. This was done to become more competitive in a cost-sensitive environment.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs November 26, 2014

Navy to decommission two more ships in Puget Sound The Navy recently decommissioned the guided missile frigate USS Ingraham at Everett, Wash. It will be towed to Bremerton and scrapped. The Daily Herald reports the Navy also plans to decommission another ship at the Everett homeport and also one stationed in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett...
 
 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 

 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 
 
boeing-737

Boeing delivers first direct purchase 737-700 to Ruili Airlines

Boeing and Ruili Airlines Nov. 25 celebrated the arrival of the airline’s first direct purchase Next-Generation 737-700. Ruili is a newly established private airline based at Changshui International Airport in Kunming, th...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>