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Boeing raises its salary offer to engineers and technicians

Boeing has raised its salary offer to its engineers and technicians, but the union is still complaining that it doesn’t adequately compensate its members.

Federal mediators have been brokering talks this week between the company and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA.

Boeing is now offering increased wage pools compared with its previous proposal, but the company has not sweetened its offer on the retirement and medical plans. Boeing wants to offer new hires a 401(k)-type retirement plan instead of a pension and wants engineers and technicians to contribute more toward health care.

Mike Delaney is Boeing’s vice president of engineering.

"I have to look at not only the short term of this year of delivering airplanes and building products like the 777 and the 787-9, but to think about the business 10 and 20 years from now that we’re competitive in the long haul," Delaney said on a conference call with reporters. "We want to get to an agreement, but getting to a bad agreement isn’t good for the company either."

SPEEA President Tom McCarty says the latest proposal is still a disappointment, but that the talks have gone better this week. He says this offer is moving in the right direction but not there yet.

The two sides meet again next Wednesday. At the same time, SPEEA leaders have been taking steps to prepare for a strike, and Boeing executive Delaney says the company has contingency plans if the workers walk out.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.