LOS ANGELES Boeing Co. and its largest white-collar union have temporarily called off their negotiations on a new contract.
Talks between Boeing and Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) union Local 2001 "are being suspended until after the first of the year" at the request of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, service director George H. Cohen said.
"The wide gulf between us and the Boeing Co. still exists," an SPEEA spokesman in Tukwila, Wash., said.
Members of the SPEEAwhich represents more than 23,000 engineers and technicians, primarily in Washingtons Puget Sound areahave been working without a contract since Oct. 6, when their prior four-year deal expired.
In the interim, the mediation service said that it will talk with both sides about a "resumption" of talks in 2013.
The SPEEA spokesman said the engineers havent given a strike authorization, but the union is still holding training sessions for "potential picket captains," as it is "determined to be prepared" for any event.
SPEEA last week said the National Labor Relations Board was due to hear an unfair labor practice charge against Boeing, Chicago, that claims it was "threatening employees with discipline for engaging in union activities."