Odds and Ends: KC-46A vulnerable to cuts; SPEEA talks resume today

While the aviation world is absorbed with the Boeing 787 drama, there actually is more going on.

KC-46A Defense Cuts: We were the first to report this when the White House issued its Sequestration hit list, but with Congress once again failing to do its job, Sequestration is over the horizon . Defense News has this update.

SPEEA Talks Resume: Boeing made its second contract offer Monday. SPEEA reviewed it yesterday. Talks resume today.  We’re very pessimistic, but SPEEA presented the following today:

With the desire to focus all attention on solving the emergent issues with The Boeing Company’s 787, the union representing engineers and technical workers today (Jan. 16) proposed incorporating areas of agreement from ongoing negotiations into existing contracts and extending the agreements for another four years.

This “best and final” offer by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, was presented as negotiations resumed at 1 p.m. with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) at the SeaTac Hilton.

SPEEA’s unprecedented offer would free Boeing and 23,000 engineers and technical workers from protracted and increasingly contentious negotiations that appear headed for a strike. It also allows the company and its technical workforce to focus on reaffirming confidence and proving the 787 is the reliable and safe product employees know it to be. Completing negotiations also helps Boeing stay focused on supporting customers, engineering the 767 tanker, 737 MAX, increasing 737 and 777 production rates and the other products needed for our national defense.

“These negotiations have been going on for more than a year,” said Tom McCarty, SPEEA president and Professional Team member. “At this point, we should move forward with the items upon which we can agree, and leave the status quo in place for the remaining items.”

In addition to the proposed contract extension, SPEEA requested that Boeing continue to meet under the auspices of FMCS mediation to tackle the difficult issues that have proven so divisive in these negotiations.

“Our hope is that we can work collaboratively to find solutions in a data-rich environment outside of the constraints of the collective bargaining process” said Ryan Rule, Professional Team member.

In making the proposal, SPEEA agreed to accept Boeing’s funding mechanism for the Ed Wells Partnership training program.  The status quo proposal continues to offset company medical costs through annual deductible increases based on salary growth.  To put to rest the pension issue, a major point of contention, SPEEA proposes to accept the same pension proposal that Boeing negotiated with the International Association of Machinists (IAM District 751). Finally, the contract extension offer is made with the understanding Boeing recognizes same-sex survivor pension benefits pursuant to Washington state law.

“With our contracts put to rest, we can all roll up our sleeves and work the issues facing the 787 and Boeing,” said Sandy Hastings, Technical Team member. “SPEEA members know this is a great airplane, and we are eager to prove this to our customers, the flying public and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).”

4 Comments on “Odds and Ends: KC-46A vulnerable to cuts; SPEEA talks resume today

  1. Not an unreasonable offer by SPEEA, considering the 787 issues and Bad PR effects, which will take more than a few SPEEA types to assist and unscramble.

    even so, the wording on the Alternate Formula Pension Benefit- is worse than awkward, and continues to hose about 2/3 of the SPEEA members, most engineers and many techs.

    Hopefully, the company will not screw things up even worse with their mis-information and BS PR on the issue.

    Sort of a kick the can down the road game..

  2. The FAA ordered the immediate temporary halt of U.S. Boeing Co.’s BA -3.38% 787 Dreamliner flights, saying it requires a “corrective action plan” before flights can resume, and hasn’t released a timetable for when that might happen.

    As Boeing struggles with its flagship Dreamliner escalated Wednesday as almost half the global 787 fleet was grounded, with Japan’s two main airlines suspending the jetliner from service after a new incident that prompted an emergency landing.

    The move raised prospects that problems related to the batteries and electrical troubles might be broader than previously experienced after a succession of incidents, though other airlines continued to fly a jetliner that U.S. regulators last week deemed “safe.”

  3. The KC-46 is important for the Air Force and important for the nation. The politicians failed (again) and the nation pays (again). There are other programs in serious trouble of failure to meet its contract (like the F-35 and LCS), and other programs the politicians keep alive after the DOD says they don’t need anymore (C-17). Big ticket weapons platforms, like the Ford class CVN can easily be streched out and keep the Nimitz in service for another 5-10 years. She is only about 37 years old now, and Enterprise (who is scheduled to be replaced by Ford) stayed in service for more than 50. We can live with 11 CVNs for now.

  4. It seems to me even a limited fleet of KC-46 aircraft, intensively used, could relief the current old tanker and C-17 fleets significantly.

    If I was the USAF I would have ordered ~60 of the shelf 767-300Fs right away.. 50t low risk payload with commercial effiency, speed, range, reliability and operating costs.

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