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Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - Page updated at 08:00 p.m.
This time SPEEA tech unit OKs Boeing contract
By Seattle Times business staff
The 7,350 technical professionals at Boeing represented by the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) reversed course and overwhelming approved a four-year contract Monday, 87 to 13 percent, a month after rejecting the same terms by a narrow margin.
The tech unit OK’d the contract by a vote of 4,244 to 654, SPEEA executive director Ray Goforth announced on Twitter.
The techs were left with few options when the larger SPEEA bargaining group, representing 15,750 engineers, approved its contract Feb. 19.
Without the clout of the engineers, Boeing refused to make any further improvements in the tech unit’s contract.
“We have extracted everything we could from the employer without a strike and we do not take the responsibility of calling a strike lightly,” said the tech unit’s bargaining team in a March 1 letter that backed off the previous recommendations to reject the contract proposal.
The contract, which runs through October 2016, provides a pool for allocating wage increases averaging 5 percent; no increase in medical costs; and an improved basic retirement benefit calculation for pensions of existing techs.
But it switches new hires to a 401(k) retirement plan, a move the union had vocally opposed. On its website Monday, SPEEA said fresh union hires will get it “like most new employees at Boeing.”
The company upped its wage package in January, after both union groups in October overwhelmingly rejected a previous offer.
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