Big Boeing bonuses

Some 45,000 Boeing Co. employees are $4,000 richer this weekend, on average.

The company paid out about $182 million in bonuses this week to certain categories of workers eligible for the company’s Employee Incentive Plan.

“It’s a good payout, which reflects the good performance of the company last year,” said Tim Neale, a spokesman at Boeing headquarters in Chicago.

The annual bonus plan grants each eligible worker extra days of pay based on how well the company does in meeting performance goals. The goals aren’t disclosed, Neale said.

This year, the bonus was equal to 14 days’ pay. The program is capped at 20 days’ pay.

Boeing had a banner year in 2005. Along with record sales of 1,002 planes, the company finished the year with a profit of $2.57 billion and free cash flow of $5.45 billion.

As a reward, Boeing is paying out $439 million to 109,000 workers companywide.

Not all workers get the bonuses. Executives don’t, Neale said, and members of several of the unions at Boeing aren’t eligible, although some of the union contracts include similar bonus plans.

The International Association of Machinists last fall rejected a contract offer that would have provided a similar bonus program. However, at the end of their 28-day strike, the Machinists approved a contract that had better pension and health benefits, but that didn’t include the bonuses.

For the first time, engineers and technicians represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace around Puget Sound received the bonuses.

The union lobbied to have its members included in the program during 2002 contract talks, and won the benefit during last year’s round of bargaining.

But Boeing and the union have not been able to agree on extending the bonuses to SPEEA-represented workers in Wichita, Kan., union spokesman Bill Dugovich said.

“We’re pleased that the majority of our people at Boeing received the EIP,” he said. “Boeing should finish the job and include everyone.”

Reporter Bryan Corliss: 425-339-3454 or corliss@

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