As the Boeing Co. boasts to Wall Street about record sales and income, the message they are bringing to negotiations is that engineers and technical workers have had it too good. The company wants cuts in the new contract. New employees won’t have a pension. Salary pools will be smaller, maybe much smaller. And, get ready to pay a higher share of your family’s medical costs because a company goal is to shift more of those costs onto workers.
This is the message Boeing is delivering to our Professional and Technical Negotiation Team at the bargaining table. We prefer to agree with new Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Connor, who said in a recent message to employees: “Thank you for the passion and commitment you bring to the job every day. This is the best aerospace company in the world, and you make it all possible.”
Boeing is flying high. A quick glance at the information Connor noted shows:
- Net income rose 3% during the second quarter to $1 billion.
- Commercial airplane revenue was up 34% to $11.8 billion.
- Boeing won the 2011 Collier Trophy, the most prestigious award in aeronautics, for designing, building, certifying, delivering and supporting the Boeing 787.
In addition to ending the pension for new employees, during our most recent session Boeing talked about shifting more costs onto employees. The company didn’t pull punches. Company negotiators came right out and said one of their goals is to shift costs onto employees. Cost-shifting isn’t a means to achieve a goal. Cost-shifting is the goal.
What’s shocking is that our proposal to Boeing included ways the company could lower medical costs without shifting them onto employees. Boeing did label our proposal for “medical bill auditing” as an item for further discussion. But, the company is not even interested in talking about our proposal for a $0 deductible medical plan. Boeing negotiators said even if such a plan cost the company nothing, it was not interested.
Again and again, we asked for a complete proposal. The company refused to provide one.
We presented a full and complete proposal to Boeing on June 15. The presentation included an item-by-item list of contract changes and adjustments. Each item included the rationale and benefit of the change. At the time, Boeing negotiators said they appreciated the thoroughness of our proposal. The closest Boeing officials came to giving a date for presenting a complete offer to SPEEA was to say “September.”
Our contracts expire October 6.
We meet again with Boeing Thursday, Aug. 2, at union headquarters.
There is one other thing Boeing said to our negotiation teams: “You guys have a tremendous amount of leverage now — absolutely.”
Yes, we do.
The Professional and Technical Negotiation Team for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFTPE 2001 is Rebekah Hewitt, Rick Hoffman, Tom McCarty, John McLaren, Ryan Rule, Joel Funfar, Sandra Hastings, Brent McFarlane, Roger Pullman, and Ron Shoemaker. For more information, including updates on the Boeing-SPEEA contract negotiations, visit www.speea.org.