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Originally published March 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM | Page modified March 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM

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Editorial: Boeing lands a strong tech vote, renewed focus

Boeing’s engineering and technical workers wrap labor negotiations that never had any room for a strike.

Seattle Times Editorial

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NEARLY a year after negotiations began, approval of a four-year contract by Boeing technical professionals will help everyone focus on the future.

Now Boeing has contracts with both bargaining groups of the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. Boeing engineers endorsed their new contract Feb. 19.

Workers represented by the International Association of Machinists signed a new contract in December 2011.

Resolution of labor issues allows everyone to refocus on solving the problems that grounded the 787 Dreamliner, and to continue producing the world’s best airliners.

These are not feel-good sentiments. Puget Sound is home to a deep pool of aerospace talent, skills and ingenuity.

Boeing management has learned some hard lessons about casually ignoring those abilities here in the Pacific Northwest.

The new contracts continue to provide pools of money for allocating wage increases, the medical plan stays the same, and retirement formulas get a bump.

The move from a defined-benefit retirement plan to a 401(k) defined-contribution plan for new hires fits a pattern extending across private and public labor contracts.

From the beginning, a strike made no sense. An enviable package of pay and benefits will reward SPEEA’s skills and talents.

Boeing management can refocus on the challenges ahead, confident its workers help keep the company competitive.

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