Negotiators for the Boeing Company and its engineering and technical union are back at the negotiating table today. That’s after union members soundly rejected the company’s latest contract offer.
More than 21,000 members of SPEEA, the Society For Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, voted by mail on the company’s contract proposal. When the votes were counted last night, 96 percent of engineers and 97 percent of technical workers had voted ‘no.’
According to SPEEA’s Executive Director Ray Goforth, members are incensed that the company is proposing to cut back pay and benefits at a time when it’s posting hefty profits.
“There is no economic reason for the company to be seeking any pay or benefit cuts,” Goforth said. “Our members are generating a fabulous amount of wealth for the Boeing Company and frankly it is insulting for them not to be willing to share that with the employees helping to generate that wealth.”
The latest contract offer calls for pay increases of 2 and 3 percent per year. SPEEA calls that a reduction from the current contract, and less than the rate of inflation.
It asks employees to pay more for their health care. It would eliminate the pension plan for new hires, and replace it with a type of 401K. It would also eliminate long term disability and life insurance for employees who are on leave serving in the military.
After the vote was announced, Boeing sent a message to union members that said the company is "committed to continuing discussions, answering questions, and considering any proposals or counterproposals from your negotiations teams."
On its website, Boeing said it is still optimistic about reaching an agreement with the union, and it is committed to providing the best pay and benefits in the marketplace.
The current contract with SPEEA expires on October 6. Both sides say they expect to continue negotiations well past that date.
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