5/14/08

SPEEA slapped with decert petition, vote set

Organizers of an effort to decertify the professional and technical union at Spirit AeroSystems have filed a petition asking for a vote. The petition to decertify the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace's professional and technical unit was filed with the National Labor Relations Board in Overland Park (KS). "We feel like we're professionals and we do not need a third party, especially a labor union, between us and the company we work for," said organizer Nate Adams, a Spirit supply base analyst. He called the union "an impediment to both productivity and profitability."

SPEEA Midwest director Bob Brewer called the decertification effort disappointing and a disruption to the union's efforts to negotiate with the company. SPEEA's contract with Spirit doesn't expire until July 2011, but it calls for the renegotiation of wages and benefits this year.

"But we'll go through it, and we'll get to the other side," Brewer said. "And I expect SPEEA will still be in place."

NLRB regional director Daniel Hubbel said a vote likely would happen in June.

To file the petition, organizers had to obtain signatures from at least 30 percent of the work force represented by the unit before Monday afternoon's deadline.

Thirty to 50 percent of the approximately 2,400 represented workers signed the petition, Adams said. He declined to be more specific.

However, Brewer said the union is challenging some of the signatures because it thinks some contractors signed the petition.

Workers will be eligible to vote as long as they are represented in the unit, Hubbel said. They do not have to be dues-paying members.

SPEEA's professional and technical unit at Boeing Wichita was decertified last year. Boeing employees had rejected decertification and reaffirmed the union in 2004.

Spirit engineers are represented by another SPEEA unit and are not affected by the decertification effort.

(kansas.com)

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