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Boeing technical workers receive no recommendation on vote

Keywords: Tags  Boeing, SPEEA, aerospace, technical workers, contract vote, labor contract, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Boeing Co.’s technical workers will hold a third vote on a new four-year labor contract without any recommendation from their union leaders.

Ballot packages are due to go out to technical members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) union this week on a contract that’s already been turned down by the technicians but which Boeing has declined to improve (, March 1). The results are expected in about two weeks, the union said.

SPEEA, Boeing’s largest white-collar union, said its technical bargaining unit council—basically shop stewards—in a 26-to-8 vote late last week made no recommendation on the offer, which the union acknowledged is "identical" to one narrowly rejected by technicians about two weeks ago.

The council held a special meeting with SPEEA’s technical negotiating team late last week after Boeing refused to revise its "best and final" offer. The union’s professional engineers, making up about two-thirds of SPEEA membership, already accepted a new contract (, Feb. 21).

The most contentious issue is assumed to be the same one that proved the most difficult for SPEEA’s engineers to accept: Boeing’s insistence that new hires will receive a 401(k)-type defined contribution retirement plan instead of the traditional defined benefit plan held by current employees.

The union pointed out that because SPEEA technicians have already granted strike authorization, the vote will only determine whether the contract will be accepted or rejected. SPEEA represents more than 23,000 Boeing employees, mainly in the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest.

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