- Associated Press - Thursday, June 25, 2020

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Spirit AeroSystems is extending a temporary layoff of about 900 employees as it grapples with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX

About 900 employees who were on a three-week furlough that was to end in early July will now be unemployed until Aug. 14, The Wichita Eagle reported.

They will continue to receive health care benefits and pension contributions throughout the furlough period.

Spirit AeroSystems said the extension it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the machinists union in Wichita for the extension.

The union worked with Spirit officials in an attempt to make the furloughs easier on the employees, said union spokesman Scott Gardner. Taking one long furlough period is potentially better for workers rather than waiting for possibly a second furlough in the future, and having to re-apply for unemployment benefits, he said.

The agreement says the furlough extension isn’t meant to completely prevent layoffs, but is intended to reduce the number of permanent layoffs.

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