SPEEA files more labor charges against Boeing

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

The union representing engineers and technical workers at the Boeing Co. has filed additional labor complaints against the aerospace company.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace alleges the company tried to interfere in member rallies in Everett and Portland, Ore. Over the past several weeks, engineers and technical workers have marched to show support for the union’s contract negotiations team. Ninety-six percent of voting SPEEA members rejected the company’s first contract offer earlier this month.

SPEEA filed the new labor charges on Friday with the National Labor Relations Board, the union said in a statement Monday. The union accused Boeing of videotaping rallies and of confiscating photos taken by SPEEA members of the rallies, which are union activities protected under federal labor law.

“Taking video of employees on a lunchtime march is nothing more than intimidation and harassment,” Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director, said in a press statement. “The company has no legitimate reason to confiscate cameras and delete photos.”

Boeing hasn’t been served with SPEEA’s new complaints, Doug Alder, Boeing spokesman, wrote in an email Monday. Therefore, the company doesn’t have any comment.

The jet maker has a policy that prohibits employees from taking photos in the factories.

Bill Dugovich, SPEEA communications director, said that the company confiscated photos taken by members who had photo permits that allow them to take pictures at Boeing.

The union’s complaints don’t specify whether or not SPEEA members had permits.

Overall, though, “these members were not taking pictures of Boeing processes,” Dugovich said. The photos were of SPEEA members marching at union rallies, he said.

SPEEA previously filed a labor complaint against Boeing in August, when the union alleged Boeing told members they couldn’t make negative comments about the company.

Boeing and SPEEA negotiators are set to resume contract talks on Wednesday. Despite voting down Boeing’s offer, the union couldn’t go out on strike until Nov. 26 if members and negotiators decide to strike.

SPEEA represents 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers in the Puget Sound region.