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Boeing engineers, technical workers voting on contract called deplorable

About 500 SPEEA members marched in north Renton at The Landing Wednesday in a show of solidarity. The union
About 500 SPEEA members marched in north Renton at The Landing Wednesday in a show of solidarity. The union's membership is voting on a new contract that leadership has recommended it reject.
— image credit: SPEEA

The 23,000 Boeing employees who engineer and design the company's airplanes and technical workers are voting on a contract their union leadership is urging them to reject.

There are about 2,600 members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) in Renton. About 500 of them walked from the Renton 737 production plan and through The Landing Wednesday in a show of solidarity.

About half of the membership is at Boeing's Everett plant.

The ballots were mailed Sept. 20 and are due back by 5 p.m. Monday. The Post Office called the union to ask it to come pick up the ballots because it's running out of room to store them all, according SPEEA spokesman, Bill Dugovich.

Dugovich is expecting the counting at its Tukwila headquarters to last well into the night, with the final results posted on the SPEEA website.

SPEEA members are being asked to either accept or reject Boeing's offer, which Dugovich described as "deplorable."

Not included is a vote to authorize a strike, which Dugovich said is "a long way off."

"We wanted this to be a straight yes or no on the merits of these offers and to allow members to really look at them and decide without having to decide on a strike," he said. The goal, he said, is a good contract, not a strike.

SPEEA members have struck twice, in 2000 for 40 days and for one day in January 1993.

A strong "no" vote would demonstrate to Boeing the membership's "strong resolve" and that the SPEEA negotiators have the membership's support, he said.

"Everything is wrong with the contract," said Dugovich, who added he was not being facetious.

The wage offers for the technical workers represented by SPEEA won't keep up with inflation and will barely keep up with inflation for professional workers, he said. Medical coverage will cost more for members and the contract includes language that would allow Boeing to cancel retiree medical insurance, he said.

The current contract expires Oct. 6.

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