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Machinists union trying to organize about 120 contract workers at Spirit

Local lodge 839 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) sits across from Spirit facilities off of K-15. The union is trying to organize about 100 to 120 contract workers at Spirit who are employed by DB Schenker.
Daniel Caudill
/
KMUW
Local lodge 839 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) sits across from Spirit facilities off of K-15. The union is trying to organize about 100 to 120 contract workers at Spirit who are employed by DB Schenker.

The employees work in Spirit warehouses, alongside Spirit workers, but are employed by DB Schenker – a German-based company that provides logistics work for Spirit.

A local branch of the Machinists union is trying to organize a group of contract workers at Spirit AeroSystems.

The employees work in Spirit warehouses, alongside Spirit workers, but are employed by DB Schenker – a German-based company that provides logistics work for Spirit.

DB Schenker employees tell KMUW they want wages and paid time off that are more comparable to what Spirit workers receive. Many Spirit employees are already unionized.

“They have concerns with their wages; they have concerns with the workplace,” said Shaun Junkins, a business representative for the district Machinists union. “Dignity is one that they’re really focused on, and respect.”

Junkins said the organizing campaign is being led by District 70 of the Machinists, which has a union hall on South Meridian.

A spokesperson for DB Schenker did not respond to a request for comment as of Monday morning.

Machinist organizers did not say what percentage of DB Schenker's employees support the union drive, but said they plan to file soon for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board.

They’ll need at least 30% support to get an election, and more than 50% of the vote to secure a bargaining unit. If successful, the unit would include about 100 to 120 DB Schenker employees.

The Machinists union has about 15,000 members across Kansas.

Daniel Caudill reports on Kansas state government for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service. He was a general assignment reporter for KMUW and a reporter, photographer and digital content manager for The Derby Informer and an editor and reporter for The Sunflower. In the spring of 2020, Daniel helped cover the legislative session in Topeka as an intern for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @CaudillKMUW.