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Contract offer rejection recommendation sets stage for Boeing strike?

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Sep. 18, 2012 at 9:24 am |
September 18, 2012 1:45 pm

The union that represents some 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers in the Puget Sound area, Oregon and Utah has recommended its members reject Boeing’s proposal for a new contract.

That proposal would raise the average salaries of engineers to $126,000 and of technical workers to $89,000 over the four-year term.

The union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, called the Boeing offer a “full-scale assault on engineers and technical workers.”

The proposal would raise pensions of existing workers to $91 per month per year of service but would end the company’s defined benefit pension plan for new hires and substitute what the company says is an enhanced 401K plan.

“This proposal fails at every level to recognize our contributions or respect the professionalism and dedication we bring to work each day,” the union said.

Engineering and technical workers would remain eligible for annual bonuses based on the company’s performance.

The proposal’s medical insurance plan would raise out-of-pocket cost for average workers by about $2,000 yearly for insurance. The company’s own costs would also rise.

The union will mail ballots to members. Those ballots will be counted on the evening of Oct. 1. The mail ballots, however, don’t include the question of a strike authorization.

A separate vote would be required for a strike.

If the union members reject Boeing’s proposal, the two sides have at least until Oct. 6, the contract’s expiration date, to bargain further.

If a new contract agreement is not reached by then, the union members could continue working if the company doesn’t lock them out.

In many cases in the history of Boeing-union negotiations, hammering out the final agreement has depended on eleventh-hour talks or contract extensions.

Boeing’s biggest union, the Machinists, has already agreed on a new deal.

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