Spirit Aerosystems, with offices in Tulsa and Wichita, laid off more than 350 employees Thursday, effective immediately.The announcement came Thursday morning, as the company began notifying people affected by the layoffs, which includes about 360 salaried support and management employees.According to a spokesman, the company has offered each employee a severance package, which includes benefits and career transition services.The company has denied moving work overseas or to another site, and said the move does not signal financial trouble."While we have a cost challenge to address, the core business is performing very well at unprecedented production rates, driving revenue, earnings and cash; and we have a strong backlog valued at approx. $36 billion," said spokesman Ken Evans."While layoffs are tough for any community, the Tulsa region's strong aerospace and advanced manufacturing sector is poised to absorb as many of these skilled positions as necessary," said Mike Neal, President and CEO of the Tulsa Chamber, in a news release after the announcement Thursday."The Chamber will convene its workforce partner organizations to begin outlining a plan to help any impacted employee find comparable employment or any skilled training needed," Neal said.Below, the responses to questions from Ken Evans, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Spirit Aerosystems, posed by KTUL.comQ. Will there be other layoff announcements this year?A. We have no other announcement to make at this time. However, this action is part of an ongoing, rigorous process to align our workforce with the needs of our customers and programs, and drive improved company performance. Decisions affecting our workforce are made based on program needs and our ability to bring more value to our aerospace design/build capabilities.Q. Why are employees being exited immediately?A. One of our key principles in this process is to ensure employees are treated with dignity and respect. By exiting the employees the same day, the affected employees can focus on their transition and begin finding new jobs without juggling work responsibilities. The company is offering affected employees severance benefits and career transition services.Q. What's the primary reason for this layoff?A. The affected employees are being notified following a workforce assessment designed to reduce overhead costs so the company can operate more efficiently. This reduction in force is part of an ongoing, rigorous process to align our workforce with the needs of our customers and programs, and drive improved company performance.Q. I thought your strategy was to avoid layoffs?A. Layoffs are never our first response. We have and continue to focus on keeping our company healthy and our team for the future intact. We are reducing overhead costs so the company can operate more efficiently. This reduction in force is necessary to ensure we are positioned to bring even more value to our aerospace design/build capabilities.
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