LOS ANGELES Boeing Co. and its largest white-collar union are at odds even before voting on the companys latest contract offer has been completed, with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) claiming intimidation of union-represented employees by the aerospace giant.
SPEEA filed an unfair labor practices complaint against Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging that Boeing illegally prevented union members from passing out leaflets at the companys plant in Everett, Wash., the union said.
The union also alleges that Boeing has questioned employees about how they plan to vote on the contract, which SPEEA negotiators and bargaining council representatives have recommended its members reject.
"Boeing contract proposals should pass or fail on their merits," Ray Goforth, SPEEAS executive director, said in a statement. "This illegal intimidation must cease immediately."
Boeing denies the claim.
A Boeing spokesman in Seattle stressed that the union hasnt "shared anything" about its complaint with the company, emphasizing that the Chicago-based aerospace giant hasnt attempted to intimidate unionized employees.
"Throughout the negotiations, we have been respectful of the process," the spokesman said, adding that he doesnt believe Boeings managers would do anything that "borders on misconduct."
In Tukwila, Wash., an SPEEA spokesman acknowledged that the NLRB is unlikely to act on the unions complaint before Feb. 19, when voting on the contract ends. Boeing has called its proposed contract its "best and final" offer (amm.com, Jan. 17).
More than 23,000 SPEEA members, mainly at Boeings operations in the Puget Sound area, are voting on the companys four-year contract offer. They will also vote whether to give union officials strike authorization.