SPEEA talks with Boeing resume this week

The union representing Boeing Co. technical workers is polling members online through Wednesday about contract priorities as negotiations with the company resume this week.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace launched the survey Friday on its website after technical workers earlier in the week voted down Boeing’s second contract offer. The technical workers also rejected the company’s initial offer in October.

Contract talks will start up again Wednesday, a Boeing spokesman said. Federal mediators in Washington, D.C., are expected to take part. Boeing had asked for mediator assistance late last year, before presenting the union with its second offer.

Boeing technical workers perform a variety of tasks for the company, serving as liaisons between engineers and machinists on the shop floor. Some are involved with aircraft flight testing, customer service and calibration. Technical workers at Boeing’s Portland, Ore., location are “key to the production of landing gear,” said Bill Dugovich, SPEEA communications director.

The technical workers not only rejected Boeing’s offer but voted to allow SPEEA negotiators to call a strike should future negotiations break down. Boeing’s 15,500 engineers, who also are represented by SPEEA, accepted the company’s offer in voting that ended Tuesday.

The technical workers and engineers haven’t differed in a contract vote like this since 1989, Dugovich said. Then, the technical workers accepted Boeing’s contract while engineers rejected it. Two months later, the engineers ratified a new contract without calling for a work stoppage.

Dugovich declined to speculate how likely a strike is by Boeing’s 7,400 technical workers, of whom about 3,900 work in Everett. He said the union’s goal is to get a contract the technical workers will accept. The survey will help SPEEA negotiators understand where the technical workers’ priorities are.

“There are some issues that could require a strike,” Dugovich said.

In the last offer, SPEEA leaders flagged a change in retirement plans for new workers as the “poison pill” or major issue that prompted them to urge technical workers and engineers alike to reject the contract. Engineers went against negotiator recommendations, voting 6,483 to 5,514 to accept the contract.

Boeing has downplayed the impact of a possible strike throughout negotiations, saying it has contingency plans.

But Dugovich doesn’t believe the company could easily mitigate a strike by the technical workers.

“You couldn’t remove more than 7,000 workers and not have an effect,” he said.

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

More in Herald Business Journal

Mountlake Terrace-based 1st Security Bank wasn’t traded publicly during the recession, but it has seen a steady growth since the recession. (Jim Davis / HBJ)
How stocks in local banks fared since the recession

Every bank was hit hard during the recession, but most have bounced back in a big way.

Boeing bolsters team for potential 797 with leading engineer

Terry Beezhold has been chief project engineer for the 777X program.

The FCC chairman moves to repeal ‘net neutrality’ rules

His plan would allow internet providers to control broadband speeds and favor their own services.

Tom Hoban
Are millennials warming up to life in suburbia?

They dominate the apartment market and their wants need to be accounted for, says columnist Tom Hoban.

Camano artist mixes flask, paintings for successful cocktail

Art flasks prove popular as bachelorette gifts, birthday presents and wedding favors.

Katie Garrison
New agent joins Re/Max Elite’s office in Snohomish

Re/Max Elite welcomed a new agent to its Snohomish office. Katie Garrison… Continue reading

UW Bothell Pub Talk looks at Greenhouse Gas Mystery

The Greenhouse Gas Mystery is the topic for the next UW Bothell… Continue reading

EvergreenHealth Monroe pharmacy interns travel to Ghana

Earlier this year, University of Washington School of Pharmacy students and EvergreenHealth… Continue reading

Everett Clinic Foundation gives $6,500 to nonprofit Christmas House

The Everett Clinic Foundation recently awarded a $6,500 operating grant to the… Continue reading

Most Read