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

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.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

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

Boeing makes investments in future of autonomous flight

“We believe these are … technology enablers that could change the future of aviation.”

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

Suitors, beware: In Seattle, Amazon also brought disruption

The company has grown there from a workforce of about 5,000 to more than 40,000 in 33 buildings.

Most Read