Boeing engineers voting on surprise contract extension

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.

Summary

  • Union confronted Calhoun over pay on Day One
  • Proposal locks in annual wage increases
  • SPEEA gets family leave this year

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Calhoun faces first test on labor issues

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.”

Summary

  • Blistering broadside on pay for engineers, techs.
  • SPEEA goes to Legislature to seek end to “Boeing exemption.”
  • IAM bargaining unit urges members to save for strike.
  • Will Calhoun change management’s approach to labor?
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Boeing tells union: MAX production halt “weeks;” others see months

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By Scott Hamilton and Byran Corliss

Introduction

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.

Boeing 737 MAXes stored at Boeing Field. Source: Seattle Times.

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. 

Summary
  • Boeing now says that once certification is achieved, delivering from the inventory is a priority over producing new airplanes.
  • This raises additional uncertainty over restarting production.
  • Spirit Aerosystems has some 90 fuselages in storage.
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Pontifications: Boeing faces thousands of retirements in next five years

By Scott Hamilton

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.

The Southeast Aerospace and Defence Conference in Mobile focuses on production transformation. Go to Airfinance Journal for program information.

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Morocco grows its aerospace cluster

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.

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Pontifications: Tax breaks in Washington State

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By Scott Hamilton

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:

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Dissecting Boeing cost-cutting

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Introduction

Feb. 11, 2016, © Leeham Co. The news yesterday that Boeing is undertaking a new roundBoeing Logo of cost-cutting has been buzzing around management and labor circles for months.

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.

Summary

  • Major layoffs predicted at Boeing’s Share Services Group.
  • Work continues to be shifted out of Washington State.
  • Large number of retirements at IAM and SPEEA expected by year end.
  • Airbus pricing pressure, 787 deferred production costs, commitments to shareholders and 777X squeeze cash flow.
  • “Mac the knife.”

 

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Muilenburg’s blessing on process cleared way for SPEEA contract

Dennis Muilenburg

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO, The Boeing Co.

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.”

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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.

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Pontifications: Boeing to focus on “long-term liabilities” in 2016’s SPEEA contract negotiations

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By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 16, 2015, © Leeham Co. Boeing will target “long term liabilities” in its contract negotiations with SPEEA, the engineers union, its president quoted CEO Dennis Muilenburg as telling him in September.

Ryan Rule, president of the local SPEEA union, met for an hour with Muilenburg when he was here for a visit by China’s president Xi Jinping. Rule termed the meeting cordial. He told Leeham News last week that Muilenburg wasn’t specific about the “asks” Boeing will seek in contract negotiations next year, citing only “long term liabilities,” which Rule took to mean health care and pension benefits.

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