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SPEEA members approve new four-year contracts

By Reporter Newspapers

Engineers and technical workers represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) have approved new four-year contracts with The Boeing Co.

The agreements went into effect on Monday at midnight. The contracts cover nearly 20,400 engineers and technical workers Washington, Oregon, California and Utah.

SPEEA announced the results Monday following a vote-by-mail process. Boeing and SPEEA negotiators on Nov. 14 had announced tentative contract agreements.

"These contracts reward our employees for the valuable contributions they make to Boeing's success," said Doug Kight, Boeing vice president of Human Resources, in a press release.

"These agreements also enable us to remain competitive and position Boeing to continue to win new business during these challenging economic times," he said.

One contract covers 14,000 engineers in the SPEEA Professional Bargaining Unit. The second contract covers 7,000 technical workers in the union's Technical Bargaining Unit.

The contracts expire Oct. 6, 2012.

The final tally in the mail-in vote showed employees in the SPEEA Technical Unit approved their contract offer with 69 percent voting to accept, according to SPEEA. The separate Professional Unit approved its contract offer with 79 percent voting to accept the company’s offer.

Nearly 79 percent of the eligible members voted on the contracts. In 2005, just 65 percent of the members voted.

“Passage of these contracts represents a first step in restoring the relationship between Boeing management and its engineering and technical workforce,” said SPEEA executive director and chief spokesperson Ray Goforth, in a press release. “We have a lot of work to breathe life into the text of these agreements and we still need to finish negotiations in Wichita.”

The new contracts provide employees wage increases, benefit improvements, a voice in future decisions on outsourcing and a process to take a voluntary layoff with benefits, according to the union press release.

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