Friday, December 18, 2020

Forgery allegations against Spirit Aerosystems

WICHITA, Kansas (KAKE) - The head of the local Machinists Union says someone from Spirit Aerosystems forged his signature and he's threatening legal action.

The signature in question, allegedly from the head of the union Cornell Beard, appears at the bottom of a Wednesday announcement of the company’s end of year Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) payment.

A lot of union members were upset by the COLA announcement and, in Facebook posts, blamed Beard and the union for not negotiating better for them.

Thursday, Beard posted a response letter to Facebook saying he became aware of the announcement Wednesday afternoon and knew neither he nor anyone else at the union had signed off on it.  He believes the signature was copied and pasted.

Beard wrote, “To verify, while I kept the Local Lodge on the line, I called Spirit HR.  I spoke with Arlene, who did verify this is what happened…She also stated that when she finds out who forged my signature on this document, they will be terminated.”

On Facebook some union members pointed out that on the announcement the lower left corner of the C in Cornell appears to be cut off.

Beard says the company promised to retract the announcement and apologize, but that, at the time he wrote the letter, he had not yet seen a retraction.

“For this reason, I have decided to take legal action against the company for forging my signature to a document without my permission or knowledge,” Beard wrote.

Local criminal attorney Ian Clark deals with many forgery cases.  He says that based on the announcement and the letter as posted to Facebook, this case could qualify as defamation of character.

“That requires certain specific elements. One is that the facts as reported are false. Then that they were published. I think that's pretty obvious at this point that that occurred. And that, then, a damage to the person's reputation or financial interest occurred,” Clark said.  “Certainly, I think that his reputation may have been called into question by all the people that look up to him to lead that organization.”

Thursday afternoon Spirit sent KAKE News a written statement saying:

“Spirit AeroSystems values our relationship with the IAM, its leaders and its members. A message was sent to Spirit employees represented by the IAM that the Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) communication was solely provided by Spirit AeroSystems.”

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