SPEEA, Boeing talks go downhill

Talks didn’t exactly break off between Boeing and its engineers’ union, but by all appearances, it seems pretty close to doing so.

The two sides are to meet next week, but SPEEA put out this press release today:

The Boeing Company today presented a partially modified offer to our Prof and Tech Negotiation teams, but was unwilling to provide our team with a complete document.  The pieces provided indicate smaller wage and Ed Wells training program cuts than previously proposed.  Verbally, the company indicated that they still intend medical cost increases, elimination of the pension for future hires and reduction of growth in retirement benefits for the existing 23,000 engineers and technical workers. 

In a departure from long standing practice, Boeing refused to provide the offer electronically today, but indicated they will do so next week.  Working through federal mediators, the company said it needed four days to assemble all the pieces of its offer into a complete document.

While refusing to provide the complete offer to SPEEA, Boeing rejected our request that the parties work privately through the mediators rather than negotiating publicly.  The company indicated that they intend to try and bypass the negotiating team by “selling” the offer directly to members.  Boeing has already launched an aggressive public relations campaign claiming that Boeing corporate’s proposed cuts are actually “improvements.” Members are encouraged to watch the special 18-minute “Trust Me” video posted on the SPEEA website at www.speea.org.

“It was profoundly disappointing that Boeing corporate yet again gave us mere pieces of an offer and refused to provide it electronically” said Ryan Rule, Professional Team member.  “As members may recall, we found numerous take-a ways in the last company offer which they hadn’t bothered to flag as changes.  This incoherence in corporate contract configuration control is baffling.”

“It’s difficult to understand how Boeing corporate can legitimately claim that they need four days to print out their offer or put that same offer on a flash drive for our negotiating teams,” said Sandy Hastings, Technical Team member. “What are they trying to hide?”

While the major cuts and take a-ways are readily apparent, based on the number of items Boeing hid without mentioning in its first offers, our teams and SPEEA staff know they need to be able to review the company offer line-by-line in order to provide a comprehensive assessment to the membership.  The company’s inexplicable delay in providing their full offer prevents a comprehensive analysis.

Support for the SPEEA negotiations continues to grow.

Addressing the SPEEA Council Thursday, IFPTE President Greg Junemann said to remember that Boeing tried to push SPEEA members to accept cuts and take-a ways in 2000.

“Your negotiating teams’ focus is negotiating a contract that respects your contributions without going out on strike,” Junemann said. “But, the folks in Chicago need to hear this loud and clear: If they provoke a strike by SPEEA again, all of IFPTE, and a whole lot of the labor movement, is ready to show them again that engineers and technical workers deserve respect and their fair share of this company’s remarkable success.”

Negotiations are scheduled to resume at 1 p.m., Wednesday, January 16.

Prof and Tech Negotiation Team members encourage members to talk to co-workers, send comments to management and maintain workplace visibility with desk tents and activities. New video messages and a contract offer section are on the website.

Boeing issued this press release (caught up, for some reason, in our spam filter at first):

Today, Boeing presented a revised contract offer to SPEEA featuring increased salary pools for both engineers and technical employees.

Profs would see salary pools of 5 percent during the first two years of the contract and 4 percent in the last two years. Techs would see salary pools of 4 percent annually for the duration of the contract, with an additional lump sum payment equaling 1 percent of their salary in years one and two.

Under this revised offer, profs would average $85,600 in additional pay and performance-based incentive payments (EIP) over the life of the agreement. Techs would average $61,200 in additional pay and incentive payments.

Our proposals on health care (Washington, Oregon, California and Utah) and retirement remain unchanged from our pre-Thanksgiving offer.

Throughout these negotiations, our goal has remained the same — a market-leading contract that rewards employees while keeping the company and workforce competitive for future work. We’ve worked to resolve our differences with the SPEEA negotiations team, withdrawing many proposals that were important to the company. Since our initial offer back in September, we’ve shown considerable movement by increasing our salary proposal twice and revising our medical proposal to lower paycheck contributions. 

We encourage you to visit the negotiations website where you’ll find new fact sheets with all the details of the new offer, as well as an updated Pay & Benefits Estimator that shows what the offer means to you.

Boeing and SPEEA’s negotiations teams have agreed to continue discussions next Wednesday.

Boeing also held a teleconference. We missed the live but will dial into the replay when we can. We’ll also link any news stories we see for the Boeing side of the story.

SPEEA had expected to go for a strike vote next week, but without a formal offer, one can’t be held. Thus, any potential strike–which had a target date of Feb. 1–gets pushed to the right.

18 comments on “SPEEA, Boeing talks go downhill

  1. . . ..”SPEEA had expected to go for a strike vote next week, but without a formal offer, one can’t be held. Thus, any potential strike–which had a target date of Feb. 1–gets pushed to the right.”

    The target date of FEB 1 was a figment of someones imagination.

    Even IF the N team had a BFO offer to evaluate this AM, the required internal procedures- meetings- voting on BFO and strike Authorization for the team who then typically must make at least one more attempt/meeting, and possibly another vote if the contract offer changes makes/made a FEB 1 date nearly impossible.

    start by reading

    http://www.speea.org/Bargaining_Units/PS%202012/Q_A_Strike_Prep.html

    for example

    What does it take to call a strike?
    If the negotiating teams request strike authorization, the Bargaining Unit Councils (BUC) – Council Reps in the Prof and Tech units – vote whether to approve sending a vote to members asking for strike authorization. A simple majority (50% + 1 vote) of members in each unit gives that unit’s negotiation team authority to call a strike.

    What happens if only one unit – the Prof or the Tech unit –
    votes for strike authorization?
    If only one unit votes to grant strike authorization, then only that unit’s negotiation team has the authority to call a strike.

    Does approving strike authorization mean we go on strike?
    Not necessarily. If a majority of members vote to grant strike authorization, then the negotiation teams have the “authority” to call a strike. It does not mean a strike is imminent. A strong strike authorization vote may provide the teams enough leverage to compel negotiation of an acceptable agreement without having to actually call a strike.

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want to know why Boeing side is the way it is, look at who is in charge of the negotiations.

  3. So Boeing is offering engineers an $85K pay and incentive increase over 4 years, and offering techs a $61K increase in the same pay and incentives over 4 years? What is wrong with that?
    Where has Boeing “refused” to provide their latest document (according o the SPEEA N Team)? Boeing asked for 4 days to produce and then provide it.
    I also see nothing wrong with Boeing wanting to tell its side of the story directly to its employees? What is SPEEA afraid of with that?
    Each side is encouraging the employees/members to visit their respective web sites. What is wrong with that?
    Since the government mediator has not stepped in and said anything, yet, I take it they also want the union members/employees to visit the respective web sites and decide for themselves.
    There are “hard liners” on both sides, and these people need to be eliminated from the talks. They are only clouding the talks.
    For me personally, I would never believe a document or video entitled “Trust Me” produced by only one side.

    • Of course you would believe BA delaney ?

      http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2013/01/11/boeing-company-needs-speea-contract.html

      “I have to look at not only the short term of this year…of building airplanes and delivering airplanes, but think about business 10 or 20 years from now,” he said. “We want to get to an agreement, but getting to a bad agreement isn’t good for the company either.”

      The latest proposal, which includes step increases of 4 percent and 5 percent for engineers, and 4 percent for technical workers, is higher than Boeing’s previous offer, which was overwhelmingly rejected by the rank and file late last year. Delaney said the new deal would increase the combination of salary and benefits for the average SPEAA member to $208,000, from $177,500.

      +++

      I can assure you the average BA engine-ear does NOT make 177K, nor the oft quoted 110K

      Nobody in speea or ba will admit where those numbers come from

      Why not spell out the median for profs and techs, along with the average ?

      BA spouts MORE flapdoodle than the SPEEA executive director- and that takes some real effort !

  4. … Where has Boeing “refused” to provide their latest document (according o the SPEEA N Team)? Boeing asked for 4 days to produce and then provide it..

    Well golly gee – You really believe that they made that change in just two days- after having a month vacation ( from 5 dec) to decide and put together a ‘ new’ improved proposal

    And the 85 k increase is NOT salary- but may repeat may be some sort of salary plus cooked values for ‘ benefits” – wh o knows since BA refuses to provide supporting data ?

    • You are wrong, Don. Boeing said in their statement very clearly that their offer was for “pay and incentives”.

      “Profs would see salary pools of 5 percent during the first two years of the contract and 4 percent in the last two years. Techs would see salary pools of 4 percent annually for the duration of the contract, with an additional lump sum payment equaling 1 percent of their salary in years one and two.

      Under this revised offer, profs would average $85,600 in additional pay and performance-based incentive payments (EIP) over the life of the agreement. Techs would average $61,200 in additional pay and incentive payments.”

      I do have a problem with someone who makes $177.5K per year in salary threatening to strike over nickles and dimes. That is what this all boils down to.

      As for the offer itself, The Boeing negotiating team cannot come up with any offer out of the blue. Before it is offered in the talks, it has to be approved by senior management, and maybe even the BoD. Unlike tunion, Boeing simply cannot throw out numbers only to find out later the company cannot afford them.

      The union loves to talk about how Boeing is currently “awash in money”. But they never talk about how cyclical the airliner manufacture business really is. Yes, there are years of plenty, but there are also years of losses. I don’t recall SPEEA, or any other union ever offering to give back something to Boeing during the “lean years” to keep the union members from being laid off.

      Unions in other industries have done that, the IAW did it to try to help keep GM afloat, before the government bailout.

      • “You are wrong, Don. Boeing said in their statement very clearly that their offer was for “pay and incentives”.

        I guess I didn’t make my point clear re the 177K

        1) the typical quoted SALARY number by Boeing ( and SPEEA ) for the average engineer is 110K as in this seattle times article today .. . . ” Newly hired engineers earn less than $70,000 a year, while veteran engineers can earn more than $200,000. The average Boeing engineer’s salary is $110,000. ”

        That number is unreal- but find if you can any Boeing or SPEEA type to explain how that number was arrived at.

        What is needed is both the average and the median and the experience vs age distribution.

        2) Lets for the moment ASSUME that that number is good or real as is the 85 k number – so 110 plus 85 = 195 to 200k. including benefits

        Now look at the so called 4 to 5 percent BASE salary gains mentioned over 4 years. – roughly that would add in 4 years at BEST 25000 to base salary- getting to 135,000 or so BASE.

        that leaves 60 65 K for bennys or about 50 percent ???

        30 percent is more like it- considering that typical pension con tributions are in the 6 to 8 percent region for BCERP ( current plan )

        So that leaves over 40 percent of salary for ?? medical ?? insurance ??

        The game being played by Boeing is to snow the troops with big numbers- and get the great unwashed public to rally against the unions – sort of like a certain election re class warfare…. and unfortunately GoForth tries to play the same game. Both sides PR indicates they are both math challenged- or following the “tell a lie enough times- it becomes fact.” game.

        • 110K per year is still a great salary, no matter how you count it. The $85K is not salary because it includes incentives.

          You said:
          “I can assure you the average BA engine-ear does NOT make 177K, nor the oft quoted 110K”

          Then you said:
          “the typical quoted SALARY number by Boeing ( and SPEEA ) for the average engineer is 110K as in this seattle times article today .. . . ”

          I have no problem with any new hire making under $70K per year as a base salary. Benefits and other compensation, like incentives, will add to that. A lot of these people are just out of college, some are hired from other companies and usually get more based on their experience.

          For the first year of the contract, your $70K engineer collects $73.5K, the second year it goes to $77,175 per year (5% for each of the first two years), the third year that goes to $80,262, and the forth year it goes to $83,472. Keep in mind that is for new hires. the guy who was hired in the first year of the contract will have moved up the pay scale faster than that. The average pay for those 4 years is $78602, under the proposal. That does not include the Boeing incentives or benefits.

  5. like most – you do not understand the basis of the numbers OR the term Pool.

    In simplified form- assume the pool ( all engineers base salaries ) is total 1 million $/year for 10 engineers
    5 percent would be 50,000 $ available for total annual raises for those 10,

    IF all got the same raise, that would be 5,000/year for each

    But the POOL is distributed by age-merit- and brown nose factors.

    newbies ( less than 3 to 5 years ) earn maybe 50,000 K year, and probably get a 5 to8 percent- use 6 percent. thats 3000. 10 such then get 30k out of the 50 K. older types get maybe 2 to 3 percent, etc. So one must know the age group- experience group- type of work- grade, etc to even make a swag as to how the 50k is distributed. VERY few older get the 5 percent, many get 2 to 3 percent, and probably a gaggle of newbies get 6 percent, etc.

    So to assume that all- most- get the 5 percent is basically wrong. And few get a raise every year. So a minimum of 2 percent or so becomes automatic for those who do get raises. etc

    Its a very complex method to try to explain to an outsider. As one gets older and higher paid, the raises get a smaller percentage. Raises of $ 50/month or 600/year are NOT unheard of .

    Suggest you keep your job in texas – which by the way has a lower cost of living than Seattle.

    In the 70′s, I wound up in Arlington- grand Prarie working for Vought- at a 15 percent cut in pay compared to seattle. etc

    • I worked for many years under a merit based pool system, I fully understand it (at DFW Airport). You have munipulated the numbers using very small average pay rates for those engineers. A true pool/merit system, at 5% per year, allows some harder workers to get more than 5%, while others, who work less hard get less than 5% (a few will get no pay raise). The 5% is not the maximum you can receive in a pay raise. The total amount in the pool cannot exceed the pool of money. Our pool at DFW was based on the annual written evaluation on each employee.

      A pool system, even one under a union contract is not complacated at all. All it does is cap the annual pay raise at some point. But all employees will get something, whether they deserve it or not. What your N-Team is really talking about is not a maximum or minimum annual increase, but the same percentage to all employees. Furthermore, a union contract does not consider the lean years the company will go through in future years. It only considers the good years.

      For a company that is spread out to many states, the local economy at each location has nothing to do with how much each employees will receive for an annual pay raise. Boeing has several facilities in Texas, mostly in El Paso and San Antonio. So are you saying that two employees, one in Texas and one in Washington, who work equilly as hard and deserve the same merit increase in pay, should be paid differently just because one lives in Seattle and the other lives in San Antonio? Is the one in Seattle worth more to Boeing than the one in San Antonio?

      BTW, I am retired.

      • … should be paid differently just because one lives in Seattle and the other lives in San Antonio? Is the one in Seattle worth more to Boeing than the one in San Antonio?.

        actually Thats ***** exactly **** what boeing does- and why the wichita employees have a separate contract !!!

  6. Quite frankly I’ll be glad when the pension is gone for new hires.
    It was great while it lasted but the world has changed.
    We can’t expect corporations or the goverment to take care of us.

    SPEEA engineers have it good, many people would do anything to get 25% of the pay and benefits we get.

    I think this contract would pass if it had a signing bonus or the increased vacation that SPEEA attached in it’s initial offering.
    Boeing will risk a strike , to get rid of that pension.
    I’ll bet Airbus is loving this.

  7. The SPEEA negotiating team asked Boeing to simply extend their existing contract (the one so onerous on Boeing that the company is posting record profits and showering pay raises and bonuses upon executives).

    Boeing management rejected this simple extension and instead has proposed cuts to every area of compensation on the theory that because of the recession, Boeing engineers and techs will be willing to swallow concessions because they don’t have other options.

    On October 1st, 96% of the engineers and techs voted to reject the company’s offer.

    The negotiations since then have floundered because Boeing management’s proposals have been (once again) all cuts.

    Yesterday, Boeing presented SPEEA with a partial offer (the new wage pools reported in this article)….but was incoherent in explaining the rest of its proposal (it said some things were firm…others still under review with no ETA on when the union would be told if that review was complete).

    SPEEA asked the company to provide a complete proposal so that the union could understand exactly what the company was offering. Instead of simply copying it onto a flash drive or printing it, the Boeing negotiators just kept insisting that “you have a complete proposal”…..meaning that if SPEEA collected the various bits of paper that have gone back and forth for months…and assembled them into some kind of an order, that would be the proposal.

    This approach to negotiations is absurd. Why would you say “you have our proposal but we’re not going to actually give it to you”??? Look at the various bits of paper we’ve given you over the past year of negotiations and make your best guess as to what today’s proposal says?

    Worse yet, Chief Engineer Mike Delaney then gave a news conference at which he CONTRADICTED elements of the previously provided proposal elements.

    The lack of seriousness by the Boeing negotiating team is utterly bizarre.

    Keeping with the bizarre, Mike Delaney (at the aforementioned press conference) claimed that he didn’t need SPEEA engineers to perform the unprecedented FAA review of the 787….that managers and engineers from California could do it (people who may be fine engineers but who haven’t worked a day on the 787).

    This dismissive assumption that an engineer is an engineer is what created the 787 outsourcing disaster to begin with.

    This is the management team that can’t shoot straight. When a union says “just give us the same contract we already have” and you turn it into a conflict that polarizes the workplace and threatens to provoke a strike, you have some explaining to do. The bumbling of this process should make Boeing customers and shareholders shudder.

    • If there is no offer, there is nothing to vote on. Only a fool would work without a contract. That doesn’t sound like a strike, more like a management shut down of work.

      Management can explain the benefits of doing this to the shareholders, and the customers get contractual compensation for delays. Why delve into whether the motives are reasonable or not? Just go with the logical process.

  8. TCook :
    If there is no offer, there is nothing to vote on. Only a fool would work without a contract. That doesn’t sound like a strike, more like a management shut down of work.
    Management can explain the benefits of doing this to the shareholders, and the customers get contractual compensation for delays. Why delve into whether the motives are reasonable or not? Just go with the logical process.

    …Only a fool would work without a contract..

    You just described the 60-70 percent of BA employees who do not have a contract !!!

    executives excluded !!

  9. Its hard to accuse the workers of greed when the executives have a track record of being greedy too. Still the amounts mentioned are high. On the other hand if all assurances average mortages, education fees etc. are off how much is left to consume for a 45 yr old with two teen kids?

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