The Latest Round Of Boeing's Labor Woes To Begin October
Representatives with the Society of Professional Engineering
Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA – IFPTE Local 2001) tell ANN
that while talks Thursday with Boeing were at times "heated and
confrontational," the meeting did yield what the union calls "the
first meaningful discussion of issues since negotiation committees
started meeting in March."
"No major issues were decided," the union continues. "However,
the exchange gives some hope Boeing will begin working major union
issues, included medical benefits, outsourcing, providing a
meaningful cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and stopping efforts to
cut employee groups from SPEEA contracts."
As ANN reported, a September 17 meeting
between SPEEA and Boeing didn't make any headway... with the Ray
Goforth, Executive Director for the union, lamenting "Things are
looking worse. These negotiations will end up in the same train
wreck as they did with the machinists if they don't change how
they're approaching us."
Goforth referred to the 27,000 Boeing workers represented by the
International Association of Machinists... who have been on strike
at Boeing plants since early September. That labor action resulted
in production line shutdowns, a complete halt to aircraft
deliveries, and Boeing's losing some $100 million per day that the
strike drags on.
That labor action has also given SPEEA some leverage in the
press -- if not with Boeing, per se -- as it presents the union
with a ready-made worst-case scenario to point to, if the
planemaker doesn't give the engineers what they're looking
"There was more substantive talk about issues during this
two-hour meeting than we’ve had with Boeing since committees
started meeting eight months ago," Goforth said after the most
recent meeting with Boeing. "We are hopeful this means the company
is ready to start solving problems. Collective bargaining does not
have to be a titanic struggle."
Close to 40 people attended the meeting at SPEEA headquarters,
including two representatives from the Federal Mediation and
Conciliation Service (FMCS). The representatives observed, but did
not participate in the meeting.
Boeing used the meeting to present SPEEA with contract language
that should see tentative agreement when main table talks open in
less than two weeks. The majority of the items presented were
no-change, cosmetic or clerical changes.
A number of union data requests to Boeing remain unfilled. Among
them are requests for additional information on medical benefits,
compensation, outsourcing and the use of contractor labor at
"Boeing has not agreed to a single major item," the union adds.
Formal talks are scheduled to begin October 28.