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SPEEA membership rejects contract offer from Boeing; talks to resume

Boeing's engineers and technical workers represented by SPEEA on Monday overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer from the company.

Votes show engineers in the Professional unit rejected the offer by 9,770 to 454. Workers in the Technical Unit rejected the offer by 5,327 to 154. Votes were a straight reject or accept the offers; there was no strike authorization on the ballots.

SPEEA and Boeing will resume negotiations today (Tuesday).

Union leadership had unanimously recommended that members reject the contract.

“We hope the vote results clear away the nonsense and allow us to begin substantive negotiations,” said Ray Goforth, executive director, said in a union press release. “Until now, meaningful discussions have eluded us because the Boeing negotiating team was convinced they understood the members better than the SPEEA negotiating team. With this question resolved, our expectation is that everyone can focus upon getting a mutually acceptable agreement.”

SPEEA negotiation teams and the union’s governing councils unanimously recommended members reject Boeing’s offers. While the two contracts expire Oct. 6, all major provisions remain in place, according to SPEEA

The offers, which Boeing presented on Sept. 13,  put raises at or below the rate of inflation, significantly increased employees’ share of medical costs, eliminated the pension for future employees and were sprinkled with language that allowed Boeing to change important provisions at any time, according to SPEEA.

“The offer Boeing tendered was unsalvageable,” said Goforth. “It represented management’s view that SPEEA didn’t actually speak for the membership. It amounted to an evisceration of the collective bargaining agreement.”

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