SPEEA Starting Negotiations with Boeing  

Boeing seems determined to sink itself:

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Main table negotiations for new, three-year, contracts covering 20,300 engineers and technical workers at The Boeing Company start Tuesday (Oct. 28), in SeaTac.

Negotiations between the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, and Boeing start after eight months of disappointing preliminary talks. The first meaningful discussion only recently took place, according to SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth. Union leaders started advising members in May to save money for a possible strike.

“Early indications are that these will be very difficult negotiations,” Goforth said. “Engineers and technical workers are the life’s blood of Boeing, but the current regime at corporate headquarters treats them as mere vendors selling a service to Chicago. This disrespect has to end.”

Talks involve two contracts. The first covers 13,390 engineers and a second contract for 6,889 technical workers. While the majority of workers work in the Puget Sound region, the contracts cover some employees in Oregon, Utah and California. Both contracts expire Dec. 1.

Negotiations for 700 engineers at Boeing Wichita start Nov. 13. The Wichita contract expires Dec. 5.

Boeing remains determined to change SPEEA contracts in several areas. Among the changes are fragmenting the union into small pieces, eliminating the defined benefit pension for new employees, shifting healthcare costs onto employees and accelerating the outsourcing of engineering and design work to suppliers, contractors and overseas companies.

Based on Boeing’s own data, many SPEEA-represented employees need significant pay increases to reach average wages in the aerospace industry. Union officials said for Boeing to remain a market-leading company, it must pay industry leading wages. Other contract improvements proposed by SPEEA include a meaningful cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA), increasing vacation to industry standards, bereavement pay when a close relative dies and for Boeing to follow Airbus North America and honor Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday.

“Everybody wins if we get a good contract,” said Dave Patzwald, chair of the Professional Negotiating Team. “We’re hopeful. We’ll know soon.”

Boeing remains an island of success in the economy with $7.5 billion in cash reserves. On Wednesday (Oct. 22), the commercial airplanes division announced third quarter profits of $694 million. Profits on the defense side were $845 million, up 4% from the same quarter last year. Total order backlog is $349 billion.

I've said this before and I'm gonna say it again, INDIVIDUAL CONTRACTS WEAKEN THE BARGAINING POSITION OF WORKERS. Boeing is interested in "fragmenting the union into small pieces" because doing so means that SPEEA is in line with the crap the UAW has carved out over the past few years. How'd that work for GM, Chrysler, Ford and the UAW in the end? Not well for any of them.

Need more on what's going on for IAM right now, head over to the IAM site for more. They are keeping the site updated at least daily.

Strike Update - October 26, 2008

Contract talks continued late into the evening Sunday and will resume first thing Monday morning. No details will be released until this latest round of contract talks have concluded.

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