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Flight Training Services pilots at Boeing form union with SPEEA

SEATTLE — In a vote that more than doubles the number of pilots at The Boeing Co. represented by a labor union, pilots and instructors in Flight Training Services are joining the Airplane Manufacturing Pilots Association (AMPA) bargaining unit of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001.

The year-long effort to join with fellow pilots culminated Thursday when votes were counted at the National Labor Relations Board Region 19 office in Seattle. The tally showed an overwhelming victory for union advocates with 48 “Yes” and 11 “no” votes. The expanded AMPA/SPEEA bargaining unit now includes 105 members.

The newest members of the bargaining unit share the same concerns as AMPA and SPEEA about maintaining the quality of flight services and training in the face of Boeing’s continued use of contract workers.

“We didn’t have to do this, but we needed to have a stronger voice,” said Mike Coker, safety pilot and member of the organizing committee. “Our group has a lot of experience and we want to use it to ensure Boeing has the best training and support possible.”

Responsible for all technical, safety and flight standards, along with instructing in simulators, the newest members of AMPA/SPEEA work primarily in Renton, Washington. Like existing AMPA members, the work includes training the pilots of airline customers on Boeing aircraft, including the 787. The union pilots also deliver aircraft from Boeing factories to customers. The work takes members to training and customer facilities around the world.

“These pilots are respected throughout the aviation industry as the leaders in Flight Training and now they’ve taken a big step to gain the respect and voice they deserve at Boeing,” said SPEEA President Tom McCarty.

“Boeing and SPEEA have had a successful collective bargaining relationship since 1946,” added SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth. “The growing ranks of professionals joining SPEEA will broaden and deepen that relationship.”

The largest professional aerospace labor union in the United States, SPEEA this year negotiates new contracts for more than 22,100 engineers and technical workers at Boeing plants in Washington, Oregon, Utah and California. The union will also negotiate a new contract for 750 engineers at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas.

A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents more than 25,700 aerospace engineers, technical workers, professionals and pilots at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas, Triumph Composite Systems, Inc., in Spokane, and BAE Systems, Inc., in Irving, Texas.

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