Representatives of Boeing Co.s largest white-collar union
are nearing a vote on the companys latest contract
proposal, which still contains provisions strongly opposed by
the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace
Representatives of SPEEAs
various districts will decide by Jan. 31 whether to recommend
approval or rejection of Boeings new four-year contract
offer, a union spokesman in Seattle said. Members at the same
time are expected to vote on a strike authorization, he
Voting packages will be prepared
and sent out to members the week of Feb. 4.
Talks between SPEEA and Boeing
resumed last week after a holiday hiatus, but ended after three
days with no deal between the parties.
Countering what SPEEA last week
termed as its "best and final" offer to the company (
amm.com, Jan. 17), Chicago-based Boeing presented
its own "final" proposal in which it agreed to extend the
previous contracts wage terms, which expired in October
of last year.
But Boeing refused to budge on
certain points that the union previously said were crucial,
including its continued effort to eliminate existing
defined-pension benefits for new hires, which the union still
opposes, the SPEEA spokesman said.
SPEEA, which represents more
than 23,000 engineers and technicians, maintains that its
members would be instrumental in addressing the battery
problems that have caused most of Boeings new 787
Dreamliners to be grounded, noting that a new labor deal would
remove any "distraction" from this role. But Boeing suggested
that other personnel could handle the job.
While Boeing has halted
Dreamliner deliveries until the battery issue is resolved with
the Federal Aviation Administration, a company spokesman in
Seattle noted this week that "production of the 787
A Boeing labor spokesman
couldnt be reached for comment.