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.


 
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 

Lockheed Martin completes operational flight tests of GMLRS alternative warhead

DALLAS, July 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –†Lockheed Martin has successfully completed all Developmental Test/Operational Test flight tests for the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warhead at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The DT/OT tests included rockets fired at both mid and long range. All rockets were fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System...
 
 
lm-kmax

Lockheed Martin’s unmanned cargo helicopter team returns from deployment

After lifting more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo and conducting thousands of delivery missions for the U.S. Marine Corps, the Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation K-MAX cargo unmanned aircraft system has returned ...
 

 

SPEEA files age discrimination charge against Boeing

After months of investigation, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFPTE Local 2001, charged Boeing with age discrimination. Acting on behalf of SPEEA-represented engineers, the union filed the third-party charges July 23 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Washington State Human Rights Commission. The evidence is overwhelming that Boeing hatched...
 
 

Commercial jets push Boeing profits up 52 percent

Increased production of passenger jets helped push up Boeing’s profit by 52 percent in the second quarter, topping Wall Street’s expectations. The Chicago-based company said net income increased to $1.65 billion, or $2.24 per share, from $1.09 billion, or $1.41 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came...
 
 

Comprehensive MEADS network tests demonstrate unmatched plug-and-fight missile defense capabilities

The Medium Extended Air Defense System recently completed a comprehensive system demonstration at Pratica di Mare Air Base near Rome, Italy. The two-week test demonstration included significant first-time events that were observed by several national delegations. “The outstanding result is that we have demonstrated the full range of advanced network capabilities that only MEADS can...
 




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>