SPEEA counters Boeing wage offer

The union representing Boeing Co. engineers and technical workers showed signs of compromise in a meeting with the jet maker the afternoon before Thanksgiving.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace countered a Boeing wage proposal, asking for 6 percent annual raises for its 22,765 Puget Sound area members over the next three years. That’s down from the 7.5 percent the union had requested during negotiations this summer.

Boeing had offered wage increases of 3 percent to 4.5 percent annually over four years during a negotiating session Tuesday. Last month, SPEEA members strongly rejected the company’s first contract offer, which included raises of 2 percent to 3.5 percent.

“Obviously, we still have some work to do when it comes to salary,” said Doug Alder, a Boeing spokesman, after the Wednesday meeting.

The company and union agreed to meet again Tuesday.

Disappointed with contract talks over the past seven weeks, SPEEA leaders have encouraged members to shun voluntary overtime and to stick to work procedures, skipping more efficient shortcuts. In a message Wednesday, SPEEA negotiators noted that all overtime over the Thanksgiving weekend is voluntary. The union’s effort ultimately could slow jet deliveries at a time when Boeing is increasing aircraft production.

Boeing and SPEEA remain at odds over the company’s retirement plan. Boeing wants to put new employees on a 401(k) plan rather than the pension plan SPEEA members have today. The two also don’t agree on how much of the burden of health-care costs should be shared by SPEEA members.

Ray Goforth, SPEEA’s executive director, suggested Tuesday that SPEEA members likely will be asked soon to give negotiators the authority to call a strike, in an effort to put more pressure on Boeing. However, the union has said a strike will not take place until after the new year, if at all.

Although SPEEA’s contract has expired, federal labor law ensures the bulk of the measures remain in place for up to a year. The union filed a termination notice, as required by law, for Nov. 25 to give the engineers and technical workers the right to strike. That also gives Boeing the right to lock workers out as of Nov. 26.

But don’t expect a lockout come Monday.

“As long as we’re negotiating, everything will continue as normal,” Alder said.

Herald reporter Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454 or mdunlop@heraldnet.com.

More in Herald Business Journal

Best foot forward: Ferndale company to make custom shoes easy

Long specializing in insoles, Superfeet is putting 3-D machines in stores to make customized shoes.

Glitches slow Boeing, SpaceX plans restore human spaceflight

Boeing has an issue with its abort system that may cause the spacecraft to “tumble.”

Planemaker joins forces with auto-industry supplier Adient

The new venture poses a threat to Zodiac Aerospace and Rockwell Collins

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Port of Everett CEO Les Reardanz has been called up and will be spending much of the year away from his office. He is going to Afghanistan. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Port of Everett CEO reporting for duty — in Afghanistan

Les Reardanz has been called to active duty with the Navy for an eight-month deployment.

Boeing opens new $17 million training center in Auburn

Workers and dignitaries marked the grand opening of the facility Monday.

Trump’s company fights efforts to shed the president’s name

“Our homes are worth more without the Trump name.”

Airbus floats shutdown of A380 superjumbo

The aircraft is so big that some airports had to expand runways to accommodate the 550-seat plane.

Does a hypersonic US reconnaissance plane already exist?

A Skunk Works executive speaks of the top secret aircraft as if it is already in operation.

Most Read