SPEEA: Company may have hid planned cuts while seeking state tax break
The following is from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001:
SEATTLE (July 17, 2015) – The Boeing Company violated federal labor law when it refused to provide information regarding plans to move thousands of engineering and technical workers’ jobs out of Washington to other states and countries, according to a decision this week by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Acting on an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge filed in March 2014 by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Dickie Montemayor on Tuesday ordered Boeing to fulfill the request and provide the union the information regarding work moving from facilities around Puget Sound to other states and facilities around the world.
“The union was entitled to all of the presumptively relevant information,” Montemayor wrote. “The refusal of an employer to provide a bargaining agent with information relevant to the union’s task of representing its constituency is a per se violation of the act.”
First hearing of Boeing plans in late 2013 of possible work movements out of Washington, SPEEA officials asked Boeing for information about the plans. When the company continued to refuse verbal requests, SPEEA filed a formal written information request. The company’s refusal to honor the written request resulted in filing charges with the NLRB.
The time frame of the initial requests regarding work movement coincides with Boeing’s multi-state competition to determine where the new 777X would be built. With intense pressure on Washington officials to win the competition, a special legislative session was held in November 2013. Legislators used the session to pass the $8.7 billion aerospace tax preference bill, the largest corporate tax break package in the history of the United States. Within weeks of the legislative action, Boeing started moving jobs out of Washington. Thus far, Boeing has announced 6,000 will move. Overall Boeing’s Washington employment is down by more than 3,100 since the special legislative session, with engineers and technical workers represented by SPEEA being hit hard.
“The judge found Boeing broke the law but what’s important is the content of the reports that Boeing was willing to break the law to hide,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “We believe that these documents will show that Boeing was simultaneously lobbying state officials to extend aerospace tax incentives and planning to move thousands of jobs out of Washington to other states. We urge The Boeing Company to come clean and obey the orders of the judge.”
Together with Machinists Lodge 751, SPEEA worked with key lawmakers to push for legislation that required Boeing to maintain jobs in Washington as a requirement to use the tax breaks. A second effort, sought requirements that aerospace suppliers pay a living wage to workers. Intense pressure from Boeing and industry representatives stalled the proposed legislation.
A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents 23,500 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, and Triumph Composite Systems, Inc. in Spokane, Wash.