Boeing engineers elect new union president

The union representing Boeing Co. engineering employees has a new president.

Ryan Rule narrowly won a three-way race for the top spot in the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA). He received nearly 44 percent of the vote, ahead of Michael Hochberg with 36 percent and Joel Funfar with 20 percent.

Rule will lead the union, which has nearly 25,000 members, starting March 26.

The current president, Tom McCarty, could not run for re-election. SPEEA’s bylaws limit elected officers to two 2-year terms in any one position.

Rule is halfway through his second term as one of SPEEA’s four elected vice presidents. In his candidate statement, he highlighted a hands-on approach to contract negotiations with Boeing and other union issues.

One challenge facing the union is the fact Boeing has been moving engineering jobs away from metro Puget Sound. Union members already gave up pensions for new hires when they approved their current contract about a year ago.

SPEEA represents more than 22,000 Boeing employees, most of whom are engineers. It also represents about 6,850 technical workers and 22 pilots at the aerospace manufacturer. Its members include about 2,000 employees at other companies, including Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kan.

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