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Boeing union offers contract proposal

Keywords: Tags  Boeing, labor contract proposal, Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, SPEEA, 787 Dreamliner, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Boeing Co.’s largest white-collar union has proposed a new four-year contract with the company that it said would end the "distraction" of stalled labor negotiations and allow the aerospace giant to "focus" on issues with its new 787 Dreamliner.

As Boeing continued to grapple this week with problems that resulted in the grounding of its 787s, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) presented its "best and final" contract offer to the company when the two sides resumed negotiations after a holiday break.

"We’re making this proposal so that we can be done with contract negotiations, get an agreement acceptable to both sides and ... eliminate this distraction and focus on the needs of the 787 program," a spokesman for SPEEA told AMM.

A Boeing spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment.

More than 23,000 engineers and technicians who are members of SPEEA—primarily employees at Boeing’s facilities in the Pacific Northwest—have been working without a contract since the expiration of their previous four-year agreements last November.

The SPEEA spokesman said that the union would accept the same 5-percent annual wage increases for its members included in its previous four-year contract, lower than what the union earlier wanted. This would avoid a two-tier pay system between professional and technical employees sought by the company.

Moreover, the SPEEA has proposed adopting the same pension scheme that Chicago-based Boeing negotiated in late 2011 with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union. This would preserve defined pensions for all union members instead of eliminating them for new hires, as the company had offered.

"With our contracts put to rest, we can all roll up our sleeves and work the issues facing the 787 and Boeing," Sandy Hastings, a member of the SPEEA negotiating team representing technical workers, said in a statement.

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