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SPEEA readies contract, strike vote for 23,000 members

Ballots will go out in the mail the week of Feb. 4 to Boeing’s engineers and technical workers for a vote on a contract union negotiators are recommending they reject.

Also on the ballot will be a strike-authorization vote.

SPEEA is holding an open house 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the its union halls in Tukwila and Everett so that members can meet with negotiators and staff experts involved in the negotiations.

The Bargaining Unit Council of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, met this week with negotiating teams.

“While extending the contract is easy to understand – the issues behind recommending rejection are not,” said Bill Dugovich, a SPEEA spokesman.

“Much of what is wrong with the contracts is what is not in them. We asked Boeing for protections against the possible ‘scrap the cap’ and Medicare age eligibility changes.”

Those issues if unresolved could leave thousands unable to retire early or if they are retired, facing the need to go buy their own medical insurance, he said.

Negotiations ended last week after each side presented its final and best offer.

SPEEA will mail roughly 23,000 ballots; members will then have 10 days to return the ballots, according to Dugovich. The ballots will be counted at SPEEA’s Tukwila headquarters.

“If strike authorization is granted, then there is seven-days wait before the teams could call members out to strike,” Dugovich said.

A majority, plus one vote, is necessary for passage of the measures.

In October 96 percent of SPEEA members rejected Boeing’s initial offer.

Boeing has been meeting with SPEEA members in the workplace about its contract offer. SPEEA representatives also will fan out to talk about the contract.

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