Boeing, SPEEA talks take a turn for the worse

Labor contract negotiations between Boeing and SPEEA took a turn for the worse (and things were bad already) when Boeing asked for federal mediation.

If this request is granted, SPEEA won’t be able to strike while mediation is in process. Only after an impasse was declared by the Mediator, could SPEEA walk out (or conversely, Boeing could lock out the union).

If mediation is granted, Boeing buys an indefinite time during which aircraft deliveries was proceed more or less uninterrupted.

Update, 530 PST: Well, it seems our long history in the airline business got the better of us. In 20 years we never saw a strike happen until an impasse was declared in a mediation. As Nixon press secretary Ron Ziegler famously said, the statement above is “inoperative.”

SPEEA is already engaging in job action, refusing voluntary overtime and working to the rules. Look for this to expand.

The last time SPEEA struck for an extended period—40 days in 2000—Boeing deliveries for the year dropped by 50.

Negotiations update, Nov. 29, 2012 

 Boeing proposes mediation in SPEEA negotiations

 Today, the company responded to SPEEA’s counter proposal regarding wage increases, the Voluntary Investment Plan and the BCERP basic benefit. Because the differences between the parties are still significant, and this was clearly reinforced during today’s conversation, the company proposed that a federal mediator meet with the Boeing and SPEEA teams. We hope the expertise of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service can help move the two sides toward a resolution.

 During today’s session, we explained the salary increase pools proposed by SPEEA for both the professional and technical units of 6 percent a year for three years would move the salaries of our employees above the Puget Sound market. We also pointed out that SPEEA’s proposal to allocate two-thirds of the salary pool to all engineers and techs significantly slows the salary growth of top performing engineers and techs.

 We explained that our Voluntary Investment Plan company match of 75 percent of the first 8 percent employees contribute is already market leading when compared with our aerospace peer companies. SPEEA proposed a company match of 75 percent of the first 10 percent.

 Finally, we explained that the company’s proposal to increase the BCERP basic benefit each year over a four year contract to $85, $87, $89 and $91 keeps the plan market leading. SPEEA proposed to increase the basic benefit each year over a three year contract to $87, $93 and $99. The vast majority of SPEEA-represented employees retire under the pay-based benefit which will continue to go up with pay increases, including EIP, and will make an already market-leading plan even better. 

 The intent of our proposal is to improve upon a total compensation package that already leads the market. The question is — how far can the package exceed the market while we remain competitive as a business for the long term.

 We encourage you to log on to the negotiations website to see regular updates where you’ll also find the Pay & Benefits Estimator. The Estimator shows how the company’s offer will affect you personally.

And the SPEEA message:

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