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SPEEA claims solidarity marches videotaped, files labor charges against Boeing

The union representing Boeing's engineers and technical workers in contract negotiations has filed unfair labor practices charges against the company, claiming the company videotaped union members at solidarity marches to support those talks, seized employees’ cameras and deleted photos.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, filed two charges Friday against Boeing after receiving complaints from members at multiple Boeing locations, according to a union press release Monday.

Doug Alder, a Boeing spokesman, said Monday afternoon the company hasn't been served with the complaints, "so we can't comment at this time."

Alder said that the company is "just glad to be back at the table to continue talks and hopes to reach an agreement as soon as possible."

Boeing surveillance and/or camera seizing occurred during lunchtime solidarity events by SPEEA members in Portland and Everett. The National Labor Relation Act (NLRA) protects employees’ rights to engage in concerted (union) activity and prohibits employers from interfering in these activities, according to SPEEA

“Taking video of employees on a lunchtime march is nothing more than intimidation and harassment,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “The company has no legitimate reason to confiscate cameras and delete photos.”

For the past few weeks, SPEEA members have held solidarity marches, meetings and other events at many Boeing facilities, including in Renton, to show support for their SPEEA negotiation teams. Marches ranged from a few dozen employees to more than 2,500 at the Everett plant.

SPEEA continues to gather information about the surveillance and photo seizing and is asking members to document and report incidents to union officials, according to the union.

Filed at the Seattle office of the NLRB, the first charge reads: “… the Employer has engaged in surveillance of protected concerted activity and has otherwise interfered with that activity by videotaping and photographing employees engaged in peaceful, protected concerted activity in Portland, OR.”

The second charge reads: “… the Employer has interfered with members engaging in protected concerted activity by confiscating photographs taken by employees of other employees engaging in protected concerted activity.”

SPEEA and Boeing started meeting in April to negotiate new contracts for 23,000 engineers and technical workers. Last week, the SPEEA membership rejected a Boeing offer by 97 percent.

The two sides will meet again Wednesday for negotiations.

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