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Originally published Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 4:23 PM

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Boeing cuts tuition subsidy for SPEEA members

Boeing will cut its tuition-reimbursement program for white-collar union members beginning Jan. 4, the union said Wednesday.

By Seattle Times business staff

Boeing will cut its tuition-reimbursement program for white-collar union members beginning Jan. 4, the union said Wednesday.

The move, sharply criticized by union officials at the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), follows September's curtailment of the tuition program for nonunion employees.

Boeing said then it would cap the tuition support for those taking courses deemed to be strategic, and would end support for courses unrelated to employees' Boeing work.

SPEEA executive director Ray Goforth said more than 3,000 SPEEA members are currently in the program. He estimated more than 1,000 could be affected, but added, "It's impossible to tell how many will be impacted because Boeing won't disclose all of the details of its cuts."

The union and Boeing met Dec. 22 and are scheduled to meet again Jan. 6 to discuss the cuts. The union believes Boeing is obliged to negotiate over the cuts, and Goforth said in a statement that SPEEA will file a grievance for breach of contract and will pursue unfair labor practice charges against Boeing.

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