SPEEA makes contract demands public

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

The union representing Boeing Co. engineers and technical workers has laid out its contract demands publicly.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA, on Wednesday posted online the contract proposal that union leaders presented to Boeing in June.

An overview of SPEEA’s demands was covered in this Herald story from June.

Representatives of Boeing and SPEEA have been meeting regularly for months to negotiate a new labor contract. The existing contract expires Oct. 6, but SPEEA’s by-laws require the union to mail ballots to members two weeks before the end of the contract. That means the two sides have five weeks or less to come to an agreement.

SPEEA’s negotiators have expressed frustration because Boeing leaders are presenting their offer in pieces – health care, retirement, wages – rather than in a complete proposal.

In recent messages to union members, Boeing leaders say they plan to offer a compensation package that “that recognizes and rewards engineers and technical workers for critical contributions to Boeing’s success,” according to a message the company posted on its contract negotiations site.

However, Boeing also emphasized the company’s need to stay competitive in this Aug. 17 update:

Boeing’s objective is to continue to provide above-market total compensation to our engineers and technical employees. This includes salary adjustments that are aligned with the labor market for engineering and technical skills in a high-cost labor market like the Puget Sound region. It is vital to be aligned with the market or we risk, in the long run, making our Puget Sound workforce uncompetitive.

 

Boeing and SPEEA negotiators don’t seem to agree on market conditions, meaning how other leading aerospace companies are compensating employees.

In a message to union members last week, SPEEA’s executive director Ray Goforth accused Boeing negotiators of using “trickery” and “polluting” the market data the company shared with SPEEA for comparative purposes.

In an update Tuesday, Boeing leaders likely had Goforth’s comments when they noted that “the rhetoric in these negotiations has already reached an unhealthy pitch in some cases.”

Boeing said it would “continue providing facts and data to support our proposals. We believe that is what our engineers and technical workers want to hear from us.” 

Negotiations continue this week.