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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 18, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 3
Boeing rejects latest union offer - SPEEA still insists on equal benefits for same-sex spouses
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Boeing rejects latest union offer - SPEEA still insists on equal benefits for same-sex spouses

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

SPEEA, the union that represents Boeing's engineers and technical workers, has proposed to end tortuous contract negotiations with the company by extending its current contract for four years.

Union officials presented what they described as their 'best and final' offer at talks with Boeing negotiators on January 16, but the union said the company rejected the offer the next day.

'These negotiations have been going on for more than a year,' said Tom McCarty, SPEEA president and Professional Team member. 'At this point, we should move forward with the items upon which we can agree, and leave the status quo in place for the remaining items.'

SPEEA officials have said that a strike is 'likely' if the company does not come to terms.

NO RETREAT ON PENSIONS
Union officials say they are still insisting that Boeing grant the same pension survivor benefits to same-sex spouses as they offer to opposite-sex spouses.

'Spouses are spouses,' SPEEA spokesperson Bill Dugovich told SGN. 'When it says 'spouse' in the contract, it means same-sex spouses just as much as opposite-sex spouses.'

Boeing surprised union negotiators and outraged the public when company officials told SPEEA representatives on November 21 that they did not consider themselves obligated to provide the same pension benefits for same-sex spouses as they do for opposite-sex spouses. The company has since walked back its opposition, but has not indicated it will, in fact, treat same-sex survivors equally.

Pension survivor benefits ensure that Boeing employees can provide a secure retirement for their spouses even if they are no longer living.

DREAMLINER GROUNDED
In a statement, SPEEA said it made its offer in hopes of 'allow[ing] the company and its technical workforce to focus on reaffirming confidence and proving the 787 is the reliable and safe product employees know it to be.'

The FAA ordered all Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded on January 16 in response to a number of reported systems failures.

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