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.


 
 

 

Headlines April 24, 2015

News: More than $1 billion in U.S. emergency reconstruction aid goes missing in Afghanistan - A total of $1.3 billion that the Pentagon shipped to its force commanders in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2014 for the most critical reconstruction projects can’t be accounted for by the Defense Department, 60 percent of all such spending under an...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

German defense minister: widely used rifle has no future A widely used assault rifle has “no future” with the German military in its current form, Germany’s defense minister said April 22, escalating a dispute over the weapon’s alleged shortcomings. Ursula von der Leyen said last month that a study showed the G36 rifle has a...
 
 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 

 

Northrop Grumman signs long-term agreement with Raytheon

Northrop Grumman has entered a long-term agreement with Raytheon to supply its LN-200 Inertial Measurement Unit for Raytheon optical targeting systems. The long-term agreement with Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business extends through 2018. The LN-200 provides camera stabilization on optical targeting systems that conduct long-range surveillance and target acquisition for various...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 
AAR-Textron

AAR awarded new contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to support T64 engines

AAR announced April 22 that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. awarded its Defense Systems & Logistics business unit a contract providing warehouse and logistics services in support of upgrading T64 engines for the Bell V-280 Val...
 




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>