Boeing makes new offer to SPEEA

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

On Tuesday, the Boeing Co. presented its latest contract offer to union representing 22,765 engineers and technical workers in the Puget Sound region.

But initial reaction from leaders of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace wasn’t positive.

The new offer leaves “no doubt that Boeing corporate believes engineers and technical workers played only a minor part in turning the company around after executives took us to the brink of disaster with 787 outsourcing and a litany of bad decisions,” union negotiators wrote in a message to members.

Boeing leaders said their new proposal rewarded SPEEA members for their contributions while allowing the area workforce to “remain competitive for future work.”

The company said it hopes to continue negotiating with the union. SPEEA’s message to members was unclear about future negotiations with the company. Instead, SPEEA said it had filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board.

It’s not the first complaint filed by SPEEA during these negotiations. In this latest complaint, SPEEA accused Boeing of threatening discipline for workers engaging in union activities.

Boeing’s new contract proposal includes increases in pay and improvements to health care costs as compared to the offer members voted down Oct. 1, company negotiators wrote in a message to SPEEA members Tuesday.

The company’s offer includes raises of between 3 percent and 4.5 percent annually over the four year contract. The first contract offer included annual increases of 2 percent to 3.5 percent. The existing contract included raises of 5 percent. SPEEA had asked for 7.5 percent.

Boeing posted specifics of the offer for engineers and for technical workers on its negotiations website.

SPEEA posted an analysis of Boeing’s offer on its negotiations website.

SPEEA leaders hinted on Monday that a strike authority vote could be in order, noting “it is becoming clear Boeing corporate may need additional persuasion.” The union already is encouraging members to boycott voluntary overtime and “work to rule,” which means employees follow procedures to the letter, effectively slowing down work.

SPEEA could not strike until Nov. 26, but union leaders said last week that a strike would not be likely until after Jan. 1. The union has only staged one significant strike of 40 days in 2000.

In Boeing’s update Tuesday, the company noted that the terms of the union’s contract, which expired Oct. 6, remain in place as the two sides continue to negotiate.

“Employees should continue to report for work as normal,” Boeing negotiators wrote.

Check Heraldnet.com for updates on this story.