Thu, Jan 10, 2013
Talks Back Underway Wednesday For Engineers And Technical Workers
The union representing engineers and technical workers at Boeing resumed contract negotiations with the company on Wednesday, but the two sides reportedly remain far apart on major contract issues. Members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, marked the resumption of talks with a “Day of Action” that included lunchtime solidarity events at Boeing facilities from Everett to Portland and Utah.
“Our goal is to get a contract that respects the contributions engineers and technical workers had in creating the record profits and 4,200 airplane backlog Boeing has today,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “After Boeing tried and failed to build the 787 on the cheap, SPEEA members stepped up and saved the program. Everything has now turned around and the company has developed amnesia about how that happened.”
Negotiations resumed at 1300 PST at a SeaTac hotel with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). FMCS Director George H. Cohen called a halt to talks Dec. 5 when negotiations appeared heading for a cliff. Since then, SPEEA members have started preparing for a strike by training picket site captains and informing members on how to hold a successful strike.
Wednesday’s “Day of Action” events were expected to draw from dozens at small sites to hundreds and thousands of SPEEA members walking inside and outside Boeing facilities in Renton and Everett. According to SPEEA, Boeing has drawn three Unfair Labor Practice Charges (ULPs) for videotaping and photographing union members at the events, confiscating cameras and the photographs they held. SPEEA says all of those marches were peaceful. The ULPs are awaiting action before the National Labor Relations Board.
SPEEA and Boeing started meeting in April to negotiate new contracts for 15,550 engineers and 7,400 technical workers. In October, engineers rejected Boeing’s initial offer by 95.5 percent. Technical workers rejected the company’s offer by 97 percent. Existing contracts expired November 25.
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