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Boeing Pays Test & Safety Pilots Almost 30% Less Than VIP Transport

Negotiation Process Unearths Uncomfortable Truths Around the Water Cooler

The union for Flight Technical and Safety Pilots took issue with Boeing's Flight Operations Group, citing poor pay scales relative to other pilot groups of similar importance at the company.

The group checked in on a report drafted by the FAA as it works through safety and production issues at Boeing corporate, noting a "disconnect between public commitments to safety and quality made by senior executives at Boeing and the situations faced by Boeing employees in the workplace". The group said that recent negotiations with Boeing have been going somewhat poorly, with the company's reps failing to show up for the last 2 scheduled bargaining sessions. Another red flag for them was the fact that Boeing asked the SPEEA's negotiators to sign a retroactive NDA, making sure the union couldn't tell its membership how much they were being 'underpaid' relative to peers at other firms.

Ray Goforth, Executive Director of SPEEA, the Boeing union that oversees safety operations pilots, said the entire process has been funky like that. His union represents "some two-dozen technical and safety pilots at Boeing", who work as the liaisons between the FAA, NTSB, and global regulators, advise, create, and polish procedures used in airline operations, and act as on-call experts to guide crews through the finer points of Boeing aircraft.

The Collective bargaining agreement governing their duties expires soon, leaving them in the lurch. In the course of negotiations, SPEEA found that the company is content to offer Tech and Safety pilots 28.6% less than the pilots who fly company execs around on their in-house aircraft. Worse, “Boeing has systematically hollowed out the SPEEA Pilot Instructors Unit, replacing valued Boeing expertise with contractors," said Goforth. "The resulting degradation in expert advice given to Boeing’s airline customers is another example of the safety-culture problem highlighted by the FAA.”



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