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Engineers' Union Says Members Should Reject Boeing's Contract Offer

Deborah Wang

Leaders of the engineering and technical union at Boeing are calling on their members to reject the latest contract offer from the company. Boeing and the union, which is called SPEEA, have been engaged in contentious contract talks since April. Union leaders are expecting a decisive rejection of the company's latest offer. KUOW's Deborah Wang reports.


The company submitted its latest contract proposal last week. The contract offers pay increases that range from 2.5–3.5 percent per year. That's less than the current contract, which guarantees 5 percent increases per year. The company says it would bump up the average engineer's salary to more than $125,000 a year by 2016.

The contract also calls for SPEEA members to pay more for their health care. Boeing says it currently pays 90 percent of all medical costs for SPEEA members, compared with 70 percent at other large manufacturers. Boeing says it's asking the all employees to moderately increase their share. Boeing is also proposing to eliminate the pension for new hires, and replace it with a 401K.

SPEEA officials call the proposal "disrespectful" and "nothing less than a full scale assault" on its members. And the union says the company wants to strip disability and life insurance from employees on military leave.

Ballots go out in the mail to more than 23,000 union members at the end of this week. Union leaders say they expect a decisive rejection of the contract.

This is not a strike vote, however. If SPEEA members reject the contract, a union spokesman says it will likely mean negotiations will continue.

The current contract expires on October 6. Unlike the machinists union, SPEEA members have gone on strike against Boeing only once in their history.

I'm Deborah Wang, KUOW News.

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