The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Dan Catchpole | dcatchpole@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 4:00 p.m.

SPEEA to find jobs for Boeing engineers in Kansas; update on Vought, Machinists

Boeing engineers in Wichita will get help from their union, SPEEA, in looking for jobs outside the company after negotiations between the two deteriorated on Wednesday.

“This is very unfortunate,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “The company is showing a clear lack of commitment to the future of Wichita IDS.”

Boeing and SPEEA had called off negotiations in Kansas last month and resumed talks just yesterday. But SPEEA labeled Boeing’s latest contract offer “disappointing” and “disrespectful.” The union represents 700 defense workers in Kansas.

SPEEA, which implemented a “no voluntary overtime” policy in Wichita last month, also canvassed the Everett factory Monday night in an effort to block voluntary overtime here, local analyst Scott Hamilton reports. The union has been threatening its “Work to Rule” policy both in Wichita and in the Puget Sound since early December.

The union says that several aerospace companies like Airbus, Spirit and Cessna, are still hiring engineers. Spirit's chief executive told employees today that the company's strategy going into 2009 remains solid, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Also today, GE Aviation announced plans to slash 1,000 jobs, reports Bloomberg due to slowing orders and the incorporation of the Smiths Group. GE will provide engines for Boeing’s 787 and 747-8.

Down in Tennessee, the Machinists union received a contract offer from Vought. Machinists there have been on strike for 108 days. The union workers were on strike mainly to preserve their defined pension benefit. The new contract gets rid of the defined pension for Machinists with fewer than 16 years experience. In recent weeks, Vought had said it would hire permanent replacements for striking Machinists.


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