By Bryan Corliss
March 11, 2020 © Leeham News – New Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun earned a split decision in his first major labor relations test Monday, as unionized engineers with the company’s Commercial Airplanes division narrowly approved a contract extension. A second unit, for technical workers, rejected a similar proposal.
The news came as Boeing announced the first case of COVID-19 among its 70,000-member Puget Sound workforce: an unidentified employee at the company’s Everett plant.
The proposal for engineers belonging to SPEEA (the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace) was approved with a 51.2% yes vote, the union reported shortly before midnight (Pacific Time). Technical workers, however, rejected a similar deal with 56.7% “no” vote.
By Bryan Corliss
Feb. 25, 2020 © Leeham News — Unionized engineers and technical workers at Boeing begin voting this week on unexpected new contract proposals from the company that address two major areas of worker complaints LNA reported on last month: annual raises and paid family leave.
The proposals, which would extend the current contract by four years, came after SPEEA (the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace) threatened to take Boeing to court over what it claimed were deliberate attempts by company management to hold down raises that engineers and tech were entitled to under the current contract.
Those threats led to talks between SPEEA’s executive board and Boeing managers, resulting in the proposed contract extensions.
SPEEA’s seven-member executive board negotiated the extensions and is urging a “yes” vote. However, the union’s larger Bargaining Unit Councils (one each for both the engineers and techs, with a combined total of close to 100 representatives) did not go along with the endorsements.
There are two separate but related offers, one for engineers and one for technical workers. Voting is by mail. Ballots will be counted on March 9. About 18,000 Boeing workers are involved, most in Washington, but also in California, Oregon and Utah.
By Bryan Corliss
Jan. 29, 2020 © Leeham News — Two weeks into the job, and new Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is already facing his first labor-management showdown, with SPEEA, the union for engineers and technical workers at the company’s Puget Sound plants.
On Monday, the vice president of engineering functions for Boeing Commercial Airplanes sent a message to members of SPEEA at Boeing, saying that his team has agreed to meetings with SPEEA’s leadership to discuss “areas of contention between the company and the union.”
Chief among those is SPEEA’s charge that Boeing has been manipulating data used to help calculate annual pay adjustments for engineers and techs, while also allowing front-line managers to blow off annual performance reviews required for engineers and technical workers to determine who would be released first in the event of a layoff.
The union, through a spokesman, declined on Monday to talk about the accusations it’s made in writing about the wage issues. BCA’s VP of engineering functions, Todd Zarfos, said in his note that the two sides have “agreed to refrain from any further accusations and rebuttals about the identified areas of dispute.”
Instead, Zarfos said, they will “work together on possible solutions.”
By Scott Hamilton and Byran Corliss
Dec. 23, 2019, © Leeham News: The Boeing 737 MAX production shut down will be measured in “weeks,” Boeing told one of its unions.
But “weeks” is a highly open-ended description.
One supplier estimated for LNA that the suspension will be at least 60-90 days.
An aerospace analyst sees the halt lasting 3-6 months at a minimum.
LNA’s analysis does not see production resuming before the Federal Aviation Administration notifies Boeing that it has a date certain for recertification. It has announced no timeline, although published reports already suggest this could be any time from mid-February to well into March.
But these are speculative dates.
March 19, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing faces thousands of retirements in its engineering and touch-labor force ranks over the next five to 10 years, with a limited worker pool for replacements.
A national economy with a low unemployment rate of about 4.1% exacerbates the challenges of finding talent.
These numbers are important to Boeing’s current higher production rate ambitions.
They are even more important as Boeing looks to develop the New Midrange Airplane (NMA, aka 797).
LNC first discussed the looming shortage of engineers in connection with the potential creation of a new company with Embraer.
Oct. 27, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Morocco is emerging as a major aerospace supplier, taking advantage of its location to Africa and the Middle East and low wages.
A wide spectrum of international aerospace companies is located there. Bombardier in August announced it was moving some of its aerospace jobs from high-cost Northern Ireland to low-cost Morocco.
Airbus has been in Morocco for 10 years. United Technologies and Safran are among other internationally recognized names in aerospace that are there.
When Boeing announced an agreement Sept. 27 with Morocco to expand its relationship with the North African country and pledge to encourage 120 suppliers and thousands of jobs there, it attracted little notice in Seattle, home to Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Feb. 22, 2016, © Leeham Co.: A group of Democratic legislators in Washington State will introduce five bills aimed at repealing some tax breaks and also taking yet another run at holding Boeing’s feet to the fire by tying jobs and tax breaks. The latest effort died in committee this year. This is the second year in a row by Boeing’s two key Washington unions, SPEEA (engineers) and the IAM 751 (touch labor) to get a bill out of committee to tie jobs to tax breaks. Boeing opposes the effort.
Most of the bills relate to non-aerospace industries. Two, however do:
LNC last year began hearing management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes would likely face personnel cuts of 10% to 15%. Cuts were expected within the marketing/sales departments, in part due to struggling sales of the 7-Series airplanes, sources told LNC.
The leading labor unions, SPEEA (engineers) and IAM 751 (touch labor), each told LNC last year they expected workforce layoffs were in the future.
More ominously, a consultant who occasionally worked with Boeing, told LNC that the elevation of Dennis Muilenburg from president and chief operating office to president and CEO (and, eventually, chairman) would make former CEO Jim McNerney’s cost- cutting efforts pale by comparison.
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Jan. 14, 2016: (c) Leeham Co. Blessing a new process in contract negotiations made an agreement possible between Boeing and its engineers’ union, SPEEA, its executive director told LNC in an interview after the surprise deal was announced yesterday.
“This process would not have happened if Muilenburg hadn’t blessed it,” said Ray Goforth, executive director of SPEEA. “This process would not have happened without Muilenburg.”
The full press release is below.
We’ll update as we get more information.