Boeing, SPEEA contract talks ‘productive’

EVERETT — The Boeing Co. and its engineers union met Wednesday to try to avoid the company’s second work stoppage this year as its striking Machinists consider Boeing’s latest contract offer.

Discussions between the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace and Boeing were “reasonably productive,” wrote Ray Goforth, the union’s executive director, in a text message Wednesday morning. But “it is clear major differences exist on key issues,” union leaders said in an update Wednesday night.

Leaders for Boeing and the union moved into a SeaTac hotel to negotiate a new labor contract to present to the union’s 21,000 members by mid-November. Meanwhile, about 27,000 Boeing Machinists remain on strike as members prepare to vote Saturday on a new Boeing offer that has the support of union leadership. Boeing’s contract with SPEEA expires Dec. 1.

Initial discussions between Boeing and SPEEA included workforce issues including grievance handling, vacation schedules, sick leave and holidays. The two sides also preliminarily broached the topics of contractors and outsourcing.

“I can’t emphasize enough how critical these negotiations are to our employees, the company and our future,” wrote Doug Kight, Boeing’s negotiator, in a message to managers Wednesday.

The company’s talks with SPEEA became even more significant after its Machinists brought jet production to a halt 55 days ago. Negotiators for Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers agreed late Monday to a tentative four-year pact. Details of the proposed contract will be distributed Thursday to Machinists, who will vote on it Saturday. If Machinists ratify the contract, they could return to work as soon as the third shift Sunday. Machinists would have roughly one week to report back to their jobs at Boeing.

The Machinists rejected Boeing’s first offer over wage, pension, health care and outsourcing concerns.

Boeing faces similar issues as it navigates a contract with its engineers and technical workers. SPEEA’s Goforth told The Herald in an interview last week that his members believe Boeing showed them disrespect because of its use of outsourcing for its newest jet the 787 Dreamliner.

“My fear is that all the emotions are going to pour out if Boeing gives us a contract with any takeaways,” Goforth said last week.

The company was at least 15 months behind schedule on the 787 when the Machinists went on strike. Boeing leaned heavily on global partners for both design and production work on the fuel-efficient Dreamliner.

But Boeing’s Mike Denton, vice president of engineering, said the company likely will look to do things differently when it launches its next new jet. “We really think we need to own some part of major production,” Denton said last week.

Goforth suggested in a press release earlier this week that SPEEA may use Boeing’s global partners to push the company into compliance with the union’s demands.

“Boeing’s global supply network creates a thousand possible chokepoints that can be leveraged if these negotiations don’t result in a contract that honors the contributions of SPEEA members to Boeing’s success,” Goforth said.

A second strike would further delay the first flight and delivery of the 787, a plane that has roughly 900 orders. Boeing already reported a 38 percent drop in its third-quarter earnings, caused partially by the strike. An engineers strike also would disrupt the progress on other Boeing jets such as its 777 Freighter and 747-8.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Jonnathan Yepez Carino speaks with Auliilani De La Cruz’s class about financial literacy during a presentation at Mariner High on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Extra credit for financial literacy: Bankers teach kids the basics

From building credit to applying for a loan — these execs offer money management advice for students and adults.

The 214-foot tall cranes work to unload their first cargo shipments at South Terminal at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Business Briefly: Port of Everett named Job Creator of the Year

Zap Energy receives $5 million for fusion energy plant and Kenmore Air offering flight from Everett to Victoria.

Rachel Daniels makes a salami rose during a Charcuterie 101 Workshop at Machias Meadows in Snohomish, Washington on Sunday, May 7, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snack queens share secrets to piecing together party platters that wow

Caterers Rachel Daniels and Mallori Rojas specialize in curating charcuterie boards. Here’s how they make their magic.

Michelle LeFevre and her Bernese mountain dog Kona sit in the shade in front of Kona’s Pond outside their home Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Camano, Washington. LeFevre, a retired teacher, wrote the children’s book “On Kona’s Pond” which centers on her pup and the other creatures that call the pond home. LeFevre’s sister, Susan Cousineau McGough, illustrated the book with watercolor renditions of Kona and the pond. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Life ain’t so ruff ‘On Kona’s Pond’

A retired Camano Island teacher’s new children’s book, “On Kona’s Pond,” tells the story of her dog and his wild friends.

FILE - A Boeing 737 Max jet prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle, Sept. 30, 2020. Boeing said Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, that it took more than 200 net orders for passenger airplanes in December and finished 2022 with its best year since 2018, which was before two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max jet and a pandemic that choked off demand for new planes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Boeing inks deal for up to 300 737 Max planes with Ryanair

At Boeing’s list prices, the deal would be worth more than $40 billion if Ryanair exercises all the options.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Four recognized for building a better community

Economic Alliance of Snohomish County hosts annual awards

Dr. David Kirtley at the new Helion headquarters in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022  (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett nuclear fusion energy company nets first customer: Microsoft

The Everett company, on a quest to produce carbon-free electricity, agreed to provide power to the software giant by 2028.

Hunter Mattson, center, is guided by Blake Horton, right, on a virtual welding simulation during a trade fair at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. High school kids learned about various trades at the event. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Trade fair gives Snohomish County kids glimpse of college alternatives

Showcasing the trades, the Trade Up event in Monroe drew hundreds of high school students from east Snohomish County.

A Tesla Model Y Long Range is displayed on Feb. 24, 2021, at the Tesla Gallery in Troy, Mich.  Opinion polls show that most Americans would consider an EV if it cost less, if more charging stations existed and if a wider variety of models were available. The models are coming, but they may roll out ahead of consumer tastes. And that could spell problems for the U.S. auto industry, which is sinking billions into the new technology with dozens of new vehicles on the way.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Tesla leases space at Marysville business park

Elon Musk’s electric car company reportedly leased a massive new building at the Cascade Business Park.

Henry M. Jackson award winner Tom Lane. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Tom Lane: An advocate for small and local businesses

The CEO of Dwayne Lane’s Auto Family is a recipient of this year’s Henry M. Jackson Award.

John M. Fluke Sr. award winner Dom Amor. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dom Amor: Working behind the scenes to improve the region

Dom Amor is the recipient of this year’s John M. Fluke Sr. Award

Opportunity Lives Here award winner Workforce Snohomish and director, Joy Emory. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Workforce Snohomish receives Opportunity Lives Here Award

Workforce offers a suite of free services to job seekers and businesses in Snohomish County.