SPEEA tech workers to vote again on same Boeing offer

Boeing Co. technical workers will be asked to vote again on the same contract offer they rejected last week, the union representing 7,400 members said on Wednesday.

Negotiators for Boeing and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace resumed contract talks Wednesday with the help of a federal mediator. The union said Boeing turned down proposals that would improve on the company’s offer. SPEEA leaders have decided to send the previous offer back to members for a vote.

Last Tuesday, SPEEA engineers accepted Boeing’s offer, despite a change in the retirement plan for new workers. The union’s technical workers, however, rejected the contract by a vote of 3,203 to 2,868. The technical workers also authorized SPEEA leaders to call a strike, if necessary.

In a statement, Boeing noted that its “best and final” offer, which the company originally presented Jan. 17, remains unchanged. There is no increase in medical care costs to workers. And the company is offering 5 percent annual increases in wage pools for technical workers. New SPEEA members would not be added to the pension program but would be offered a 401(k) retirement program, a switch SPEEA leaders have opposed.

However, after the engineers accepted a contract with the change in retirement, SPEEA President Tom McCarty told Reuters on Tuesday that the “pension is dead.” Bill Dugovich, SPEEA communications director, told The Herald that McCarty’s view wasn’t the position of the technical workers’ bargaining team.

On Wednesday, SPEEA negotiators did not offer a recommendation to technical workers on the contract. In January, SPEEA leaders urged members to reject Boeing’s contract. In October, both technical workers and engineers rejected the company’s first offer, which included lower wage increases and required SPEEA members to contribute more toward health care.

The negotiations, which began last April, have been a distraction for Boeing as it faces a troubled 787 program, looks to increase production rates and makes plans for new design programs like the 787-10 and 777X.

“We believe that it’s time for all of us to come together as one team and focus on the challenges facing the company,” Boeing said in a statement.

The company’s 787 has been grounded due to battery failures since Jan. 16. Boeing presented a proposal last week to the Federal Aviation Administration to get the jet back into commercial service. The FAA’s technical staff will prepare an evaluation of Boeing’s proposal and submit it to administrator Michael Huerta “probably sometime next week,” Huerta said Wednesday.

SPEEA said Wednesday that its council on Friday will weigh in on the decision to send the same contract offer back to members. The union expects to mail ballots to technical workers early next week. Members have 10 days after the ballots are sent to cast their votes, which likely will be tallied mid-March.

In all, the union represents 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers.

More in Herald Business Journal

Tulalips break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel

A 150-room hotel was added to what is now a $140 million complex expected to open in spring 2019.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Boeing raises dividend 20%, continues stock buyback program

The manufacturer said it has repurchased $9.2 billion worth of its shares this year.

Trudeau snubs Boeing, unveils plan to buy used Aussie jets

Trudeau will be assessing the impact fighter jet contracts have on his country’s economy.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Value Village sues Washington attorney general over demands

The company said the AG wanted it to tell customers how much of their prices goes to charities.

Study: Almost 45 million tons of e-waste discarded last year

The gold, silver, copper and other materials would’ve been worth $55 billion had they been recovered.

Most Read