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Boeing unions want a seat at the table

Amid executive office shakeup, IAM 751 and SPEEA want to be a part of decision-making to restore the company’s focus on safety and quality


SEATTLE (March 26, 2024) — With Boeing’s announcement that CEO Dave Calhoun will step down, among other company leadership changes, the unions representing Boeing employees are calling for more than just a shuffling of executive officers. The people who design and build Boeing airplanes are calling for systemic change — and a seat at the table — to ensure that quality and safety are reestablished as company priorities.

International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751 President Jon Holden released the following statement on Monday:

“We are looking to see a leader who will prioritize the importance of the quality and safety of the production system and a leader with a strong vision for the future that includes the IAM, our communities, and the foundation of the manufacturing process. Our livelihoods are at stake, and that’s precisely why we are seeking a seat on the board. We firmly believe our voice and the voice of the engineers must be heard at the highest level of the company’s decision-making process. The safety of aircraft manufacturing isn’t negotiable and must be safeguarded above all else. We are committed to instilling a culture where the safety of aircraft production is an absolute imperative over anything else.”

Ray Goforth, Executive Director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)/IFPTE Local 2001, also released a statement on Monday:

“The problems in Boeing’s executive suite are systemic. Nothing is going to change for the better without company leadership acknowledging their failures and thoroughly committing to fixing them. The next CEO should be an aerospace engineer. This company thrived under engineering leadership for decades but has lurched from crisis to crisis with MBAs running the company.”

Casey Yeager, President of the Boeing Fire Fighters union, IAFF Local I-66 released the following statement:

Boeing announced Monday that Calhoun will step down at the end of the year, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President/CEO Stan Deal is out effective immediately, and board Chairman Lawrence Kellner won’t stand for re-election in May.

Stephanie Pope, Boeing’s chief operating officer for less than three months, has been named as Deal’s replacement. She previously served as chief financial officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, among other positions. Pope has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southwest Missouri State University and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University in Missouri.

Kellner will be replaced by Steven Mollenkopf, former CEO of Qualcomm, a San Diego-based company that designs and manufactures semiconductors and wireless telecommunications products. His background is in electrical engineering.

Earlier this month, IAM District 751 began negotiations with Boeing on a new union contract to cover more than 32,000 production workers.

In addition to a seat on the company board, the union is seeking a wage increase of at least 40 percent over three to four years, restoring retirement security by reinstating the defined-benefit pension plan the company took away in 2014, lowering out-of-pocket healthcare costs, easing mandatory overtime and other work rules that negatively impact work-life balance, and ensuring that Boeing’s next airplane is built in the Puget Sound region.

IAM District 751 members’ existing contract will expire at midnight on Sept. 12.

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