SPEEA leaders urge members to reject Boeing best, final offer
By DEAN RADFORD
Renton Reporter Editor
January 18, 2013 · 9:50 AM
Boeing's engineers and technical workers will vote during the coming weeks on the company's "best and final" contract offer, which their union leadership is recommending they reject.
The ballots also likely will include a measure on granting negotiating teams the authority to call a strike.
Boeing and negotiators with Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, started talks in April on a new four-year contract. Members overwhelming rejected a Boeing offer in October and for several weeks have been preparing for a strike.
Earlier this week SPEEA offered Boeing a plan to extend the existing contract and include provisions upon which both sides agree. Boeing agreed to extend the current contract, but SPEEA negotiators maintain that new provisions put retirement benefits at risk for all 23,000 of its members.
The contract rejections and now the vote come when Boeing is trying to fix problems with lithium batteries that have grounded its new 787s worldwide.
"This four-year contract would allow all of us to focus our time and energy on the immediate challenges facing the company," according to the company. It was the same sentiment SPEEA expressed in making its contract offer.
Boeing sent the current offer directly to SPEEA members. Provisions include:
• Professional and technical workers would see salary pools of 5 percent annually for the duration of the contract. The average engineer would see $84,071 in additional pay and performance-based incentive payments over the life of the agreement. The average technical worker would see $64,515 in additional pay and incentive payments.
• Health care plans would remain in place with no increase in employee contributions.
• For new hires only, the company would offer an enhanced retirement savings plan, such as a 401k, that would replace the traditional pension. Pensions for current SPEEA-represented employees are unchanged except for an increase in the pension basic benefit.
"Over the past nine months, our team has negotiated in good faith to provide a market-leading offer to our employees," the company told employees.
SPEEA maintained in a press release that Boeing's decision "escalates its mounting problems" and reiterates "the company’s growing disrespect for the engineers and technical workers who are essential to working issues and restoring confidence in the 787."
“We are profoundly disappointed the company is taking advantage of our good-will offers to push through unwarranted cuts, put existing retiree benefits at risk and eliminate the pension for future employees,” said Ryan Rule, professional negotiation Team member.
SPEEA indicated in the press release that Boeing rejected SPEEA's offer after stating publicly that the company does not need SPEEA members for the FAA investigation or working the 787 issues, instead the company said managers and engineers from other areas of the company could do the work.
“Boeing corporate created the 787 problems by ignoring the warnings of the Boeing technical community,” said Joel Funfar, technical negotiation team member, in the SPEEA press release. “Now, they propose to double down on their failed outsourcing strategy by outsourcing the engineering work required to solve the problems caused by previous rounds of outsourcing.”Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).