SPEEA: Boeing using ‘trickery’ in contract talks

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

The Boeing Co. has about five weeks left in contract talks with the union representing its engineers and technical workers, which means the rhetoric out of both camps is getting interesting.

Union officials recently have accused Boeing of abandoning negotiations.

Boeing negotiators are “going to conduct a public relations campaign directly to the membership and then drop a bad offer at the last minute to give you as little time as possible to study it,” wrote Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, in a message to union members. “Think about that. Boeing is afraid to let you see their contract offer until after they’ve spent a couple months selling the individual components to you.”

SPEEA’s contract expires Oct. 6, but the union’s by-laws require that ballots be mailed two weeks in advance. Therefore, the two sides have until the third week in September to come up with a new contract.

SPEEA leaders previously have voiced concerns over Boeing’s unwillingness to present a full contract offer. The union gave Boeing a new contract proposal in June.

Boeing initially was pretty reserved publicly about its talks with SPEEA. Last week, however, Boeing launched a website giving its take on negotiations.

SPEEA’s Goforth urged union members to call on Boeing to back up with data anything the company posts on its website or in emails to employees.

“Your negotiating team already caught the Boeing negotiating team polluting the comparative market datasets with bankrupt companies and others, like Walmart, that provide little if any benefits to their employees. Trickery and marketing has replaced rational discourse,” Goforth wrote.

Boeing’s latest update on its negotiations site addresses some specific changes to health insurance requested by SPEEA.