SPEEA strike authorization vote set

Negotiations between Boeing and SPEEA appear to have taken a discouraging turn. SPEEA scheduled a strike authorization vote by the Council (SPEEA’s parliament) to authorize a strike vote by the membership.

The strike vote of the general membership will proceed soon thereafter (next week or so), says Ray Goforth, the executive director of the engineers’ union. Economic issues and Boeing’s desire to severe the Utah engineers from the main SPEEA contract remain unsettled.
Update, 9:30 PM PST: SPEEA issued this statement:

Boeing stalls negotiations – Council issues strike authorization vote – Managers improperly poll members

With The Boeing Company stalling on responding to SPEEA counterproposals, the Northwest Council on Thursday authorized a member vote seeking strike authorization power for the Professional and Technical negotiating teams.

The bargaining unit councils each voted unanimously to hold a member vote on strike authorization. A simple majority “YES” vote gives the negotiation teams authority to call a strike if necessary. The action comes after two days of non-productive and discouraging dialog with Boeing over key economic issues, including wages, pensions, medical benefits and the company’s ongoing attempts to strip Utah engineers from the Professional contract.

“A great deal of progress has been made,” said SPEEA Executive Director and Chief Spokesperson Ray Goforth. “It would be unfortunate for customers, shareholders and employees of Boeing if we can’t reach a deal at the bargaining table.”

Main Table talks started Oct. 29 after eight months of negotiations in committees. Early this week, SPEEA negotiation teams made some major moves in an attempt to bring negotiations to a successful close. Despite the efforts, Boeing negotiators remain convinced they can force SPEEA members to accept a contract that keeps wages below market, removes pensions for new hires and opens the door to fragmenting bargaining units into smaller and smaller groups of employees.

By mutual agreement, specific details of the responses and counterproposals will not be available until negotiations conclude.

Managers improperly poll members

SPEEA has heard that some managers are polling employees in the workplace about their views on terms and conditions of employment. This improper communications is being used by Boeing negotiators to gauge what is an acceptable contract offer for SPEEA members.

For legal reasons, we are interested in your experience if contacted by management. This type of employee polling is not acceptable as part of the collective bargaining process and is affecting our ability to successfully conclude our contract negotiations with the company.

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