Outsourcing: Always a Thorn in a Union’s Side

The International Association of Machinists union recently sued Spirit Aerosystems, accusing the company of violating the collective bargaining agreement through its plan to sell off part of its operations and outsource union-represented jobs at its Wichita facilities. According to the Union, Spirit is seeking to sell a key fabrication operation and use outside contractors to perform work currently done by IAM-represented fuselage sections.

Unions vehemently oppose outsourcing jobs because, according to them, it displaces union workers, which is why IAM sought an injunction prohibiting Spirit from outsourcing employees in tool supply, shipping, plant stores, and other support functions. If IAM waits a little longer, they could probably get the NLRB to tag Spirit and its outside contractors as joint employers thereby erasing any cost savings and operational flexibility Spirit gained by outsourcing union jobs in the first place. But the union didn’t hear that from me.