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 October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




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>