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:
Boeing rejects SPEEA counterproposals
Discussions during negotiations today (Nov. 29) included medical benefits, SPEEA salary raise pools and the pension. In the middle of our pension discussion, The Boeing Company stopped negotiating and recommended a federal mediator be brought in to assist our talks. The Boeing team then packed up and left.
Employers often invoke federal mediation when they do not see a path to achieve their goals during negotiations.
Boeing rejected SPEEA wage proposals without providing a counterproposal. Using their flawed methodology, Boeing negotiators restated their belief that technical workers and engineers are overpaid and above “market.” The Boeing negotiators said SPEEA members do not deserve higher increases or higher guaranteed minimum raises than included in their Nov. 20 revised compensation offer.
“These below-inflation raise pools and medical plan takeaways mean techs will lose money during the life of the contract,” said Joel Funfar, technical team member.
SPEEA’s proposals are designed to align members’ compensation to the value we bring to Boeing.
Our latest proposals included significant movement in regards to salary and pension growth. The company rejected our proposals on each and failed to provide a counterproposal.
Our Prof and Tech teams remain disappointed the company did not listen to members during the overwhelming rejection of the contract offer. The company continues to propose cuts to the compensation packages at a time when Boeing is experiencing unprecedented success in profits and orders.
Boeing corporate continues to not take our negotiations seriously. This is why SPEEA filed unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against the company on Nov. 19 for failing to fulfill information requests vital to these negotiations.
Members can see how Boeing’s contract offers impact your paycheck and personal situation by using the updated SPEEA Contract Offer Calculator. SPEEA recently revised the calculator to show how Boeing’s Sept. 13 offer and Nov. 20 changes compare to the terms in the 2008 – 2012 Puget Sound Prof & Tech contracts.
Members are encouraged to continue workplace actions, including refusing to work voluntary overtime and other ‘work-to-rule’ actions to bring pressure on Boeing corporate.
We are doing everything possible to avoid the need for a work stoppage. However, as it’s also important to be prepared, the SPEEA Bargaining Unit Negotiations Support (BUNS) committee is holding picket captain training sessions at the Everett Hall on Wednesday (Dec. 5) and at the Tukwila Hall on Thursday (Dec. 6). Interested members should look for the notice in the SPEEA online calendar or talk to their Council and Area representatives.