SPEEA rallies at Boeing’s Puget Sound area sites

With a contract vote looming, Boeing Co. engineers and technical workers will rally today at various sites across the Puget Sound region.

Even retired members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace will join in, holding an “informational picket” outside Boeing’s corporate office in Seattle from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Here in Everett and around the region, the union is holding lunchtime rallies, encouraging members to wear their red SPEEA shirts as a sign of solidarity.

The union demonstrations come just a few days before the 5 p.m., Oct. 1 deadline for SPEEA members to vote on a labor contract offered by Boeing. SPEEA leaders have urged members to reject the company’s offer. Boeing officials previously have accused SPEEA of abandoning negotiations and have called their offer “market-leading.”

SPEEA’s 22,765 members design and test Boeing aircraft. The union’s contract expires Oct. 6.

Union negotiators say that Boeing’s contract would provide members with the worst wage increases SPEEA has seen since 1975. Boeing’s plan to switch new members to a 401k retirement plan rather than a defined pension is another sticking point. The union also says the company wants to do away with medical benefits for retirees, who currently receive medical coverage between the ages of 55 and 65.

That’s the reason retired SPEEA members will be in Seattle today.

“After 32 years working at Boeing I had a promise that this health care coverage would be there for me,” Cynthia Cole, past SPEEA president who retired from Boeing in 2010, said in a statement.

Boeing has denied that it’s trying to take away retiree health care and disputed other SPEEA claims.

“If we’d had the opportunity to discuss our proposal with the union, we could have clarified that we did not intend to change the status quo with respect to retiree medical benefits. Regrettably, SPEEA has chosen to sensationalize the issue and cause unnecessary concern,” the company said on Wednesday.

In message to SPEEA members on Tuesday, Boeing encouraged workers to ask questions online at its negotiations website, which the company is using as its “primary vehicle” for communication. Boeing noted the popularity of the negotiations site, saying the site has received 14,000 visits since Sept. 20.

“We look forward to finalizing an agreement with your negotiating team. We recognize that you have elected them to represent you in this process,” Boeing negotiators said in their message.

Should the union vote down Boeing’s offer, SPEEA would not go out on strike. The union and company likely would extend their contract and return to negotiations.

More in Herald Business Journal

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

Robots on Wall Street: Slow-footed regulators lose ground

Watchdogs have to figure out how to check computers running lightening-fast algorithms.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Snohomish, Monroe manufacturers honored for innovation, excellence

Two Snohomish County companies have been honored with Manufacturing Excellence awards at… Continue reading

Remodeled home tours planned this weekend

This weekend, Edmonds-based Chermak Construction will participate in the 2017 Remodeled Homes… Continue reading

Barron Heating to celebrate anniversary at Marysville showroom

Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary from 10… Continue reading

US budget deficit hits $666B, an $80B spike for the year

The deficit issue has largely fallen in prominence in Washington in recent years.

Most Read