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Boeing Engineers And Technical Workers Vote To Approve 6-Year Contract

SPEEA members count votes at the union's headquarters in Tukwila

Boeing engineers and technical workers have voted to accept a new six-year contract, one that the company said "helps position us for continued success in a highly competitive landscape."

The contract covers about 20,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers, mostly in the Puget Sound region. The negotiations and vote were much more peaceful this time than they were three years ago. At that time, members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA, were so unhappy with the company’s proposals, they almost went on strike. 

This time, the union and the company started meeting early and managed to work out an agreement in a less confrontational way. SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth said union members still have things they’d like the company to change, but this is a positive step.

"Being able to work through thorny collective bargaining issues in a productive, professional manner certainly sets the groundwork for tackling those other problems in a more productive manner," Goforth said. 

He said those other problems include the company’s decision in recent years to move work to other states. This latest contract includes increased severance and benefits in case Boeing does transfer jobs to other locations. 

Within SPEEA's professional unit, 71 percent voted to accept, and within the technical unit, 73 percent approved the deal. 

"Attracting, retaining and developing the best team and talent, and maintaining respectful, productive relationships with all employee groups is a priority for Boeing," Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement after the vote results were released.

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.