SEATTLE--()--At a time when the United States is engaged in the longest running conflict in its history, The Boeing Company wants to eliminate the ability of engineers and technical workers on military leave to buy important disability and life insurance coverage at the company’s discounted rates.
“Eliminating the ability of our war fighters to buy these products is just one more example of the gratuitous take-a-ways Boeing has put in these contract offers”
The action is tucked inside Boeing’s contract offers to 23,000 engineers and technical workers represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001. SPEEA’s Professional and Technical Unit Negotiation Teams, along with their governing bargaining unit councils recommend members reject the offers. Ballots go out later this week. Contracts expire Oct. 6.
“This is a cut that is offensive beyond measure,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “Allowing military personnel to buy insurance at discount rates costs Boeing nothing. As a union, we cannot allow these cuts to stand.”
Boeing made no mention during negotiations of benefits for employees on Military Leave of Absence. The company’s offer deletes an entire document that covers a wide variety of medical, insurance and other benefits. Boeing wants to use Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD) to address the benefits and items. After close examination, SPEEA discovered the SPDs remove the ability for individuals on military leave to buy and/or extend their Boeing long-term disability or basic life insurance after three months. Technically outside the legally binding contract, SPDs can be changed at any time by the company without informing the union.
“Eliminating the ability of our war fighters to buy these products is just one more example of the gratuitous take-a-ways Boeing has put in these contract offers,” Goforth said. “I am shocked by the degree of corporate arrogance that prompts Boeing to start cutting the benefits of individuals serving our country.”
At a time when the company is soaring with record profits, Goforth said corporate leaders are engaging in a wholesale grab of everything they can get from engineers and technical workers.
The union vote is a straight “Reject” or “Accept” of the Boeing contract offers. Union officials said a strong rejection should make it clear to Boeing that it must stop attacking engineers and technical workers and return to negotiations ready to negotiate.
While the majority of covered employees are in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, these SPEEA Professional and Technical contracts also cover employees in Oregon, Utah and California.
A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents 26,560 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, and Triumph Composite Systems, Inc. in Spokane, Wash.