Boeing, SPEEA reached contract accord months ahead of schedule

Boeing LogoJan. 13, 2016: Boeing and its engineers union, SPEEA, reached a contract accord months ahead of the September amendment date, SPEEA announced today.

The full press release is below.

We’ll update as we get more information.

SPEEA Press Release:

More than 20,000 engineers and technical workers at The Boeing Company will soon receive ballots to vote on six-year contract extensions that include market-leading wages, continued retirement benefit growth, a choice of comprehensive medical plans and enhanced job security language.

Negotiated and unanimously recommended by the Executive Board of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, the union’s bargaining unit councils authorized a vote of members during a special meeting on Wednesday (Jan. 13).

Ballot packages will be sent to members next week. Votes will be counted at union headquarters in Tukwila on Feb. 10. If ratified by members, the extensions take effect Feb. 11 and continue through Oct. 6, 2022.

Union leaders said the contract offers address members’ top priorities as outlined in a recent member survey – retirement, health care, salary growth and job security.

“These negotiations were possible because SPEEA and Boeing decided not to let our areas of disagreement prevent us from making progress on items where we do agree,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “These contract extensions are the result of a lot of hard work and good will.  Hopefully, this gives us a template for the future.”

A major improvement contained in these contracts relates to helping SPEEA members affected by Boeing moving work. Management is committing to use exhaustive efforts to place individuals impacted by such a move.  In the unlikely event these placement efforts fail, individuals laid off due to the movement of work will receive a minimum of 26 to a maximum of 60 weeks of pay (2 weeks per year of service) and six months of medical and dental coverage. This protection, along with the doubling of the existing voluntary layoff benefits, would take effect immediately after ratification.

While the majority of workers are at Boeing facilities in the Puget Sound region, the contract offers also cover workers in Oregon, Utah, California and Florida.

Negotiations grew from discussions during regular meetings between the union and Boeing in recent months. With both sides receptive to avoiding the sometimes confrontational atmosphere around contract talks, the SPEEA member-elected Executive Board began formal talks with Boeing after the holiday break. The Executive Board includes members from both the Professional and Technical bargaining units. Several of the elected officials served on previous union contract negotiation teams.

A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents more than 23,000 engineers, technical workers, pilots and other aerospace professionals in Washington, Kansas, Oregon, Utah, California and Florida.

Boeing Press Release:

SEATTLE, Jan. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) today announced a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract extension, following several weeks of discussions.

SPEEA’s Executive Board and Bargaining Unit Councils have endorsed the offer, which will be put up for a vote by the membership from Jan. 27 to Feb. 10, 2016 via mail-in ballots.

Under the tentative agreement, Boeing would continue to provide SPEEA-represented employees with above-market compensation for their skills.

“This tentative agreement recognizes the significant contributions of our engineering and technical workforce and reinforces Boeing’s commitment to the Puget Sound region,” said Boeing Vice Chairman and Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “As our competitive environment gets tougher, ratification will enable Boeing to be more competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s commercial and defense markets, while helping ensure stability for Boeing’s future as our employees strive to deliver superior products and services to our customers.”

Boeing and SPEEA have a mutual interest in maintaining a stable Puget Sound workforce. The tentative agreement includes a commitment to limit layoffs due to work movement, should it become necessary. If work is moved outside Puget Sound, Boeing will exercise all reasonable efforts to offer affected employees comparable positions in the SPEEA bargaining unit.

If Boeing determines that relocation of work is necessary, the company will conduct a redeployment evaluation period for no less than 120 days before any represented employee is laid off. Following that, if a position is not available after the evaluation period, an employee would be offered an enhanced layoff benefit providing two weeks of pay for every full year of service, up to a maximum of 60 weeks (minimum of 26 weeks) payable as a lump sum. Affected employees would also receive six months of continued medical and dental coverage.

For SPEEA-represented employees hired before March 2013, a new retirement savings program is proposed that will replace the traditional pension, which will be modified on Dec. 31, 2018. The new retirement program would include a new Special Company Retirement Contribution and enhanced 401(k) transition contributions. All other employees represented by the union already participate in a new retirement savings program.

SPEEA health care contributions have not changed since 2008, while health care costs for other Boeing employees and employees across all industries have increased. Boeing continues to pay more than 85 percent of all employee health care costs.

Under the tentative agreement, employees would see modest increases in cost sharing for participation in the company’s market-leading health care plans in addition to having continued access to a zero contribution health care plan. The tentative agreement includes access to Boeing’s Preferred Partnership health plan in Puget Sound, which provides additional savings to employees.

The current SPEEA contract expiring in October 2016 covers about 14,000 professional engineers and 6,500 technical workers.

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