Boeing Abandons Negotiations with SPEEA Engineers in Wichita, No Date to Resume

As per an SPEEA release, refusing to respond to union proposals, without notice The Boeing Company today (Dec. 5) unilaterally announced a “recess” to contract negotiations with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001. The union learned of the “recess” from a company email to employees.

“The company has not responded to our proposals and has now abandoned negotiations without notifying our negotiations team or suggesting a date to resume,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “This is the latest example of how little this company values Wichita engineers.”

The two sides started main table negotiations Nov. 17 to negotiate new contracts for 700 engineers at the Wichita Integrated Defense System (IDS) plant. This week, union leaders started a “work-to-rule” campaign for engineers and technical workers. The first step is asking engineers in Wichita to decline all voluntary overtime and voluntary work during the upcoming holidays. The “work-to-rule” is starting in Kansas and could eventually include aerospace engineers and technical workers in Washington, Oregon, California and Utah.

Work at Wichita includes Italian and Japanese 767 tankers, E-4B (747 Airborne Operations Center) and E-737 Australian Wedgetail (Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft). The Italian tankers and Wedgetail are already four years behind schedule.

Boeing’s most recent offer includes only a single wage increase in the first year of the three-year contract. No money is guaranteed to individual employees. No increases are offered for years 2 and 3. Boeing wants to eliminate the pension for new engineers and switch employees to an HMO medical plan that increases costs while providing less coverage.

“The Boeing offer failed to meet our lowest expectations,” said Goforth. “Delivery of critical military projects depends upon Wichita SPEEA members. Boeing’s disrespect for Wichita is unfathomable.”

Boeing and SPEEA recently settled contracts for 20,400 employees with 20 percent wage increases over four years.

In October, Boeing IDS announced third-quarter profits of $845 million, up 4 percent from 2007.

A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents 24,600 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Triumph Composite Systems, Inc., in Spokane, Wash., and BAE Systems, Inc., in Irving, Texas.

SOURCE: Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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