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Boeing, union to resume labor talks

Keywords: Tags  Boeing, Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, labor talks, contract negotiations, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Boeing Co. is due to resume negotiations this week with its largest white-collar union, which has been working without a contract since November.

Boeing will return to the bargaining table with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace on Wednesday. The Chicago-based company presented the union with its first contract proposal since 2012 late last week, but the union claimed it was incomplete.

The negotiations are set to take place as Boeing strives to maintain record monthly build rates on its 777 twin-aisle and 737 single-aisle commercial aircraft programs, which are due for further production increases, Moreover, despite recent reports of technical problems, Boeing still plans to double the build rate for its 787 Dreamliner by late this year.

Boeing’s previous four-year contract with the union, which represents more than 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical employees, expired Oct. 25 (, Dec. 6).

While the union said that the preliminary version of the latest offer indicates "smaller" cuts to wages and training budgets than were included in the company’s previous offer, it said Boeing continues to seek medical cost increases as well as the elimination of traditional defined-benefit pensions for new hires. Union members rejected the previous proposal by a margin of more than 95 percent (, Oct. 2).

A spokesman for the Seattle-based union said Monday the organization expects "an assembled, complete offer from the company by the end of the day." A Boeing spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment.

The union hasn’t yet sanctioned a walkout if the two sides don’t reach an agreement, but the spokesman said members will vote on strike authorization at the next contract vote.

The union’s last extended strike was a 40-day walkout in 2000, which reportedly caused major production delays at Boeing.

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