Boeing's engineer union says strike is likely, prepares workers

lajikal

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NEW YORK | Fri Dec 7, 2012 5:58pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Saying a strike now appears likely, the union representing Boeing Co's (BA.N) 23,000 engineers held picket-line training this week to prepare for a work stoppage that could disrupt billions of dollars worth of plane deliveries and help Airbus catch up to Boeing on jet designs.

The preparations come after federal mediators suspended talks between Boeing and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace on Wednesday, after two days.

"I think the likelihood of a strike is very high," Ray Goforth, executive director of SPEEA, said Friday.

The union has not called for a vote to authorize a strike and said it would not stage a walkout until January at the earliest because Boeing closes its factories for the last week of December.

Bargaining began in April to replace contracts for engineers and technical workers, mostly at Boeing's factories near Seattle.

There is scope for the sides to reach a deal, since talks with the mediator are due to resume in January.

But the friction is rising between Boeing and its white-collar engineers, who design the jets and work closely with machinists to build them.

Last week, Boeing said the sides remain far apart on terms and called in the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a Washington, D.C., agency that facilitate labor talks.

That process ended abruptly Wednesday when the two mediators who attended the meetings in Seattle suspended the talks.

"My guess is that after spending two days with us, they realized that no deal was going to be possible and that we were about to plunge into crisis," Goforth said.

He said that if Boeing had made another offer and left the table, the union would have responded by calling for a strike vote.

"FMCS pushed the pause button to stop that from happening," he said.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the company "remains committed to reaching an agreement as soon as possible."

Boeing upped its offer last month but was surprised when SPEEA did not move toward compromise, he said. Instead of cutting its proposal, SPEEA asked for higher raises.

Boeing has offered a four-year contract with raises of 4 percent to 4.5 percent each year for SPEEA engineers and 3 percent to 3.5 percent for technicians. The workers got 5 percent raises in the contract that expired last month, and they have since asked for 6 percent annual.

"We're trying to keep our employees at the top of the market, but not so far above it that we can't attract work," Boeing spokesman Alder said. "We need SPEEA's team engaged in the process starting from the first day we're back at the table."

The union says Boeing's current offer would cut retirement benefits 40 percent and salary growth 22 percent while raising medical costs 12 percent.

SPEEA has struck twice before: a one-day walkout in 1993, and a 40-day stoppage in 2000. Both actions occurred early in the year and after talks with a mediator had failed to produce a labor agreement.

If they walked out, SPEEA's engineers and technical workers could stop production of 52 jets a month, worth nearly $8 billion at list prices.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE8B61C320121207
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#2
Oh look, the unions found something the US is still competitive in. Time to change that, huh?
 

gleet

What's black and white and red all over?
Jul 24, 2005
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#3
I used to live close to a Boeing plant. Every time they went on strike, you could wait a few weeks, then go to the pawn shops that ringed the edge of the plant and pick up some great bargains.
 

domelogic

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#4
Boeing has offered a four-year contract with raises of 4 percent to 4.5 percent each year for SPEEA engineers and 3 percent to 3.5 percent for technicians. The workers got 5 percent raises in the contract that expired last month, and they have since asked for 6 percent annual


Yes another union not in touch with reality. I can not tell you the last time I got a 4% raise without switching jobs and they were getting 6%.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#6
Boeing has offered a four-year contract with raises of 4 percent to 4.5 percent each year for SPEEA engineers and 3 percent to 3.5 percent for technicians. The workers got 5 percent raises in the contract that expired last month, and they have since asked for 6 percent annual.
Ohhhhhhh fuck you. I'm going to be lucky to get 1%.
 

CougarHunter

Lying causes cat piss smell.
Mar 2, 2006
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#7
I was supposed to get a 30% raise in 5% a year increments to bring me up to market for the area. That worked for exactly 1 year, and then nothing for the 6 years after that. They finally broke loose with a 7.5% this year, so by my math, I'm still 30% under market since inflation is 8-10% year over year.
 

Psychopath

I want to fuck your girlfriend.
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#8
I'm sure there are a lot of engineers that just finished college that would love to have a job at Boeing. These idiots will never learn.
 

VMS

Victim of high standards and low personal skills.
Apr 26, 2006
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#9
Time for Boeing to move to a right-to-work state.
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#10
I was supposed to get a 30% raise in 5% a year increments to bring me up to market for the area.
If you're really "below market", then you should have no problem putting your services out on said market and getting the salary you deserve.

But I have a feeling that the market changed since back then, and now you're up to market without the raise.
 

VMS

Victim of high standards and low personal skills.
Apr 26, 2006
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#12
they tried, the 0bama NLRB sued them

I hope Airbus takes all their business
Long term, it doesn't really matter anyway. Airbus has started building their planes in China, which means in another 20 years a Chinese company will be producing all of the world's planes.
 

mascan42

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#13
Long term, it doesn't really matter anyway. Airbus has started building their planes in China, which means in another 20 years a Chinese company will be producing all of the world's planes.
I don't look forward to flying in a plane made of lead paint and aluminum foil.

GM had the right idea by refusing to let Saab sell out to the Chinese. They knew that within 5 years, the market would be flooded with counterfeit GM parts.
 

VMS

Victim of high standards and low personal skills.
Apr 26, 2006
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#15
They did, See 787 plant in Charleston SC, Non union by employe vote.
I meant something more along the lines of "move the entire damn company to an (or many) right to work state(s).

One plant isn't going to save Boeing.
 

TomC

uppity neobarb
Aug 1, 2006
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#16
I meant something more along the lines of "move the entire damn company to an (or many) right to work state(s).

One plant isn't going to save Boeing.
your right, but the plant is already expanding, they have bought more acres and have opinions on many 100's more, this shit is in our daily paper ALL the time. The only reason that we got the final assembly plant is that Boeing bought the company that was making the mid body part and the workers de-certified the union when Boeing said that they were looking to open a plant somewhere that wouldn't strike and fuck up billion dollar contracts, So welcome 3000+ good jobs to SC.
 

whiskeyguy

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#17
They did, See 787 plant in Charleston SC, Non union by employe vote.
Yeah but the next time they tried to build another plant, the Seattle unions stopped them. It wasn't even a replacement plant, but an additional one.
 

Atomic Fireball

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#18
I had no idea actual engineers with EE degrees were unionized anywhere. At Raytheon and I believe Lockheed-Martin they're salaried.
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#19
your right, but the plant is already expanding, they have bought more acres and have opinions on many 100's more, this shit is in our daily paper ALL the time. The only reason that we got the final assembly plant is that Boeing bought the company that was making the mid body part and the workers de-certified the union when Boeing said that they were looking to open a plant somewhere that wouldn't strike and fuck up billion dollar contracts, So welcome 3000+ good jobs to SC.
Problem is, people from blue states will just move where the jobs are. And then, they'll proceed to vote for the same policies that forced them to move. That's why WA is getting fucked up: people moving in from California and voting for California style politics.

I suspect that Boeing will just have to cave to the unions, and eventually end up relying on bailouts, just like GM. Companies just don't have a choice. Unions have too much power.
 

TomC

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#20
Problem is, people from blue states will just move where the jobs are. And then, they'll proceed to vote for the same policies that forced them to move.
(said with deep southern accent) Not in South Carolina, BOY. What are you, one of those New York Jews!












:action-sm
 

whiskeyguy

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#21
Problem is, people from blue states will just move where the jobs are. And then, they'll proceed to vote for the same policies that forced them to move. That's why WA is getting fucked up: people moving in from California and voting for California style politics.
I don't think ex-Californians caused Washington's problems. Areas of Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, sure... but both Portland, Oregon and Seattle are very liberal naturally, probably more so than any area of California with the exception of San Francisco/the Bay Area
 

weeniewawa

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May 21, 2005
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#22
I don't look forward to flying in a plane made of lead paint and aluminum foil.

GM had the right idea by refusing to let Saab sell out to the Chinese. They knew that within 5 years, the market would be flooded with counterfeit GM parts.
GM has opened more plants in china than anywhere else

most of their engines are being built there. I think they are going to be bigger there than here soon
 

MrAbovePar

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Mar 14, 2005
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#24
I don't think ex-Californians caused Washington's problems. Areas of Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, sure... but both Portland, Oregon and Seattle are very liberal naturally, probably more so than any area of California with the exception of San Francisco/the Bay Area
I'd like to see a study of migration. How many people in WA and OR grew up in California? We already know population migrations are away from the liberal hellholes.
 

whiskeyguy

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#25
I'd like to see a study of migration. How many people in WA and OR grew up in California? We already know population migrations are away from the liberal hellholes.
Based on what I've seen, when people leave California they usually go to more rural areas... not cities like Seattle or Portland. Ashland, Oregon has a big gay community that originated from San Francisco.

In Idaho I think Californians go to areas like Coeur d'Alene, Sun Valley, and Twin Falls.

Portland and Seattle I think evolved (devolved?) into liberal cities without any help from California. A study would be interesting though.