Following is an open letter from Kenneth Aphibal, a Boeing engineer and member of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFPTE 2001:
I’m an engineer at Boeing where I’ve worked for more than five years. I was overjoyed when my home state of Washington voted to approve marriage equality — but then Boeing announced it planned to deny equal benefits to same-sex married couples.
I’m a proud second-generation employee — my dad, who moved here from Thailand, is still working for Boeing as an aerospace engineer. I’m also proud that I can be open at work about my engagement to my fiancé Bennett and that I live in a state where our relationship is now legally recognized.
When Boeing announced that it wouldn’t provide same-sex married couples’ benefits, I felt like the company I’ve dutifully served was turning its back on me. Without these benefits, same-sex couples like my fiancé and I will be unfairly burdened with an uncertain retirement and financial future.
Boeing still has an opportunity to do the right thing, and will make its final decision soon. I started a petition on Change.org asking Boeing to reverse its stance and provide equal benefits for its employees in same-sex relationships. Click here to sign.
Boeing’s announcement came as a surprise to me and my fellow LGBT coworkers, especially since Boeing was one of the first major corporations in the country to extend health care benefits to domestic partners of their employees. Denying equal benefits despite the new marriage equality law sets a poor example for other corporations in our state.
When reporters confronted Boeing, they issued a defensive statement saying that “any assertion that Boeing discriminates is blatantly false and, quite frankly, offensive.” But by denying same-sex couples equal benefits, Boeing is discriminating against its gay employees and disregarding state law.
Boeing is able to get away with this because of a federal loophole — but the company has the power to grant their own benefits. I believe that continued public pressure will push them to do the right thing — other companies, like Microsoft, already provide these benefits to their Washington state employees. And Boeing is not one to be left behind.
Please join me in calling on Boeing to change it’s position and provide equal benefits to same-sex couple employees by signing my petition now.
Thank you for your support.