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SPEEA wins reinstatement for 7 Boeing pilots in labor case

The following is from SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001:

SEATTLE (March 27, 2024) — The Boeing Company violated federal labor law by retaliating against seven of its instructor pilots who had engaged in union activity, a federal administrative law judge ruled.

“I find that Boeing was motivated by anti-union animus and was punishing its (Flight Training Airplane) pilots for their union activity in April 2020,” Judge Gerald M. Etchingham wrote in his order issued March 22 for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). “No other rational explanation exists.”

The judge ordered Boeing to offer the seven pilots their jobs back, pay them for lost wages and benefits and restore their positions – which had been outsourced to non-union contractors – to the company’s full-time, union-represented payroll.

“The ruling is a resounding win for our union-represented pilots,” said Ray Goforth, the executive director of SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001, which represented the Boeing instructor pilots before their work was outsourced to third-party contractors. The union pursued the federal complaint on their behalf.

“Boeing systematically dismantled the pilot training safety system that had served the company and its customers well for decades,” Goforth said. “They stripped the safety system for parts, pocketed the savings, then contracted out the remaining pieces to pretend that no substantive changes had occurred.”

In his order, Etchingham ruled that Boeing “looks to have prioritized cutting costs and ridding itself of a group of union instructor pilots it has historically treated badly.”

“Boeing’s use of the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext for its layoff of the seven FTA pilots is a classic bait-and-switch guise, where for years Boeing whittled away this small group of gold-standard trained, blue-badge employees with its anti-union animus and wore down the (union) pilots,” Etchingham wrote.

Along with reinstating the seven pilots with full back pay and benefits, dating back to 2020, Boeing must also reimburse the pilots for any expenses spent trying to get new jobs and any adverse tax implications from their illegal layoff, the judge ruled.

At its Commercial Airplane facilities in the Seattle/Renton area, Boeing must also post notices telling workers it will “not lay you off because of your union membership or support” and pledging the company will “not divert your work to a subcontractor” because of union activities.

SPEEA represents more than 19,000 engineers, scientists, pilots and technical workers at Boeing in Washington, Kansas, California, Oregon and Utah and Spirit AeroSystems facilities in Kansas. Read more background on this story at


Previously from The STAND:

SPEEA: Pilot contract talks illustrate Boeing safety culture problems (Feb. 29)

Boeing cuts flight training pilots, will outsource jobs overseas (Sept. 21, 2020)

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