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Archive for Sunday, December 7, 2008

Boeing pauses talks with Kansas engineers union

December 7, 2008

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— Boeing Co. has called a recess to contract negotiations with a union representing more than 700 engineers in Wichita.

Boeing spokesman Jarrod Bartlett said Friday that the pause will give the aircraft manufacturer a chance to look at a counteroffer from the Wichita unit of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

He said no additional negotiations are scheduled.

Contract talks between the Chicago-based Boeing and SPEEA began Nov. 17, and union negotiators rejected an initial contract offer.

SPEEA executive director Ray Goforth said in a news release that the offer failed to meet the union’s lowest expectations.

“The company has not responded to our proposals and has now abandoned negotiations without notifying our negotiations team or suggesting a date to resume,” Goforth said. “This is the latest example of how little this company values Wichita engineers.”

SPEEA says Boeing’s most recent offer includes a wage increase only in the first year of the three-year deal, with none in the second and third year, and does not guarantee additional money to employees. Boeing also wants to eliminate the pension for new engineers and change employee health plans to one that increases costs while providing less coverage, the union said.

This week, the union announced a campaign that calls for workers to decline all voluntary overtime and work during the upcoming holidays.

SPEEA represents 24,600 aerospace workers at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Triumph Composite Systems Inc. in Spokane, Wash., and BAE Systems Inc. in Irving, Texas.

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