The Boeing Company today (Jan. 11) presented a partially modified offer to the Society of Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, with smaller wage and training program cuts. However, union leaders said Boeing’s corporate negotiator verbally confirmed that when the company’s complete offer is assembled next week it will contain medical cost increases, elimination of the pension for future hires and reductions in the growth in retirement benefits for the existing 23,000 engineers and technical workers.
Departing from longstanding practice, union leaders said Boeing refused to provide the offer electronically, but indicated they will next week. Working through federal mediators, the company said it needed four days to assemble all the pieces of its offer into a complete document.
While refusing to provide the complete offer, the union said Boeing rejected a request to continue working privately through the mediators rather than negotiating publicly. Less than two hours after ending talks, Boeing launched an aggressive public relations campaign with a conference call for the news media.
“It was profoundly disappointing that Boeing corporate yet again gave us mere pieces of an offer and refused to provide it electronically,” said Ryan Rule, SPEEA Professional Team member. “As members may recall, we found numerous takeaways in the last company offer which they hadn’t bothered to flag as changes. This incoherence in corporate contract configuration control is baffling.”
“It’s difficult to understand how Boeing corporate can legitimately claim that they need four days to print out their offer or put that same offer on a flash drive for our negotiating teams,” said Sandy Hastings, Technical Team member. “What are they trying to hide?”
While the major cuts and takeaways are readily apparent, based on the number of items Boeing hid without mentioning in its first offer, union negotiators said it’s vital to have every page of the offers to perform a line-by-line review.
Support for the SPEEA negotiations continues to grow.
Addressing the SPEEA Council Thursday, IFPTE President Greg Junemann reminded the group that Boeing pushed the union for cuts and takeaways in 2000.
“Your negotiating teams’ focus is negotiating a contract that respects your contributions without going out on strike,” Junemann said. “But, the folks in Chicago need to hear this loud and clear: If they provoke a strike by SPEEA again, all of IFPTE, and a whole lot of the labor movement, is ready to show them again that engineers and technical workers deserve respect and their fair share of this company’s remarkable success.”
Negotiations are scheduled to resume at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16.
A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents 26,560 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, and Triumph Composite Systems, Inc. in Spokane, Wash.