Some dissent emerges on new engineering contract with Boeing

“This is being shoved down our throats,” said one SPEEA council rep.

By Dominic Gates / The Seattle Times

Some dissent among rank-and-file members of Boeing’s engineering union emerged Friday morning in reaction to the tentative new contract deal agreed on late Thursday with company management.

The leadership of SPEEA, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, announced Thursday evening a proposal to extend the current contract by four years, to 2026, and said it would recommend the deal to its 18,000 members.

But SPEEA’s union council reps, who deal more directly with the rank-and-file employees, declined to endorse the proposal.

SPEEA staff and the seven-member executive board had been negotiating with management under nondisclosure agreements, and revealed the details of the proposed contract only on Thursday afternoon to the union council reps, the foot soldiers who represent the union to their members in the offices and on the factory floor.

SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth said Friday the union’s engineering council reps voted 35 to 24 against recommending approval of the deal, while the technical staff council reps voted 20 to 13 against. But neither group reached a decisive vote to recommend rejecting the contract.

That means the deal will go to a vote with a recommendation from the elected leadership to approve it, and no recommendation one way or the other from the bargaining unit councils.

One SPEEA council rep for the technical staff, who asked for anonymity because of the level of emotion around the issue, reacted angrily to the union’s announcement of the deal without registering the dissent. “This is being shoved down our throats,” he said.

He objected to the union agreeing in secrecy to a deal two years ahead of the current contract’s expiration, arguing that this suits Boeing but removes the union’s negotiating leverage.

Goforth in response called the proposal “a fantastic offer” and said he’s received positive feedback from members on Friday.

The proposed contract changes the formula Boeing uses to distribute compensation, which the union had objected to, and provides 5.5% total compensation increases in raises and bonuses each year for the next two years, then 5% in 2022, and 4.5% for each of the subsequent four years.

The deal also increases the annual bonus payout formula. And it introduces 12 weeks of paid maternity/paternity leave as well as eligibility for the state’s Family and Medical Leave benefits.

The percentage of their medical costs paid by SPEEA members will increase in 2023 from 5% in the current contract to either 6%, 9% or 12%, depending on salary level.

Ballots will be mailed to SPEEA members on February 21 and the votes will be counted March 9.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Worker cheer and wave as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner takes off from Paine Field Tuesday morning on Dec. 15, 2009. (Justin Best/ The Herald
Report: Boeing will end 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Boeing declined comment on a WSJ story saying the passenger jet’s assembly will move to South Carolina.

A Boeing 737 MAX jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, takes off on a test flight from Boeing Field, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Seattle. The MAX was grounded worldwide in early March 2019 after the second of two fatal accidents that together killed 346 people aboard almost-new aircraft. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
FAA chief tests changes to Boeing’s grounded 737 Max

The revamped jetliner was set to take off from the former Boeing Field in Seattle for a 2-hour flight.

FILE - In this Monday, June 29, 2020, file photo, a Boeing 737 Max jet heads to a landing at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle. A U.S. House committee is questioning whether Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration have recognized problems that caused two deadly 737 Max jet crashes and if either organization will be willing to make significant changes to fix them. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Lawmakers propose new rules targeting Boeing’s safety issues

A panel of officials would review the company’s use of workers to perform safety analysis for the FAA.

Bothell woman charged with insider trading at Amazon

The former manager in the company’s tax division will pay back the stock gains, penalties and interest.

This undated photo provided by Amazon shows the Amazon One device at an Amazon Go store in Seattle. Amazon has introduced the new palm recognition technology in a pair of Seattle stores and sees broader uses in places like stadiums and offices.  Customers at the stores near Amazon's campus in Washington can flash a palm for entry and to buy goods. (Amazon via AP)
Amazon sees broad audience for its palm recognition tech

The company says it’s more private than other biometric technology, and it’s also contactless.

Amazon to kick off holiday shopping with October Prime Day

Major retailers have said they plan to push shoppers to start their holiday shopping in October.

Boeing year-end goal for 737 max return gets boost in Europe

The company agreed to install a synthetic sensor on the next version of the plane — the 737 Max 10.

State asking Boeing what will keep 787 production in Everett

Closing that production line could cost thousands of local jobs.

Everett to consider allowing three more pot shops in city

After months of economic, planning and public safety review, the city council could vote next month.

Most Read