A turning point in Boeing, SPEEA talks?

Union leaders noted a “new spirit of collaborative problem solving” in contract talks with Boeing officials on Wednesday.

“We had a good, productive discussion,” Tom McCarty, president of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, said in a statement.

SPEEA represents 22,765 Boeing engineers and technical workers in the Puget Sound area.

McCarty’s comment, as with the rest of SPEEA’s update on Wednesday’s session, is perhaps the most upbeat remark either side has made since the union rejected Boeing’s first contract offer on Oct. 1.

Boeing and SPEEA leaders met Wednesday after the company announced $1 billion in quarterly earnings and boosted its full-year profit estimate. The company also noted rising pension costs in its third quarter report.

Boeing and SPEEA swapped proposals on medical and pension issues, according to the union’s update.

The company made changes in its health care proposal to provide “the detail and security” of the current contracts, Boeing negotiators wrote in an update Thursday morning. They will review SPEEA’s proposal on retirement.

“We also jointly reached tentative agreements to provisions on holiday pay, jury and witness duty for part-time employees,” Boeing negotiators wrote.

More negotiating sessions are planned for Thursday and Friday.

The union’s contract will be terminated on Nov. 25. However, both Boeing and SPEEA have said they could continue talks after that point.

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