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Is pay increase enough in Boeing-SPEEA contract proposal?

Workers prepare the facility for production of the Boeing 777X at the Composite Wing Center on June 12, 2017 in Everett. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Boeing leadership and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace have come to an agreement on a tentative contract that extends into October 2026.

The engineering union is expected to recommend the new contract to thousands of its members, but not everyone is pleased with the terms.

“The guaranteed raise is only 0% for one group of us and .5% for the other next year! Are you kidding me?” one SPEEA member, who wished to remain unnamed for fear of retribution, told MyNorthwest. “In the contract (current), we gave up our guaranteed raise pool, pension, and health care in exchange for almost nothing – except two more vacation days.”

According to Dominic Gates, aerospace reporter with The Seattle Times, the new offer from Boeing addresses the union’s concerns over the process that salary pools for raises. It also provides 12 weeks paid parental leave and eligibility for Washington state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director, told The Times that the deal is good for employees.

“This contract does a fantastic job of solving the problems our members asked us to solve,” Goforth told The Times.

Gates explains in The Times that compensation for remaining years of the contract and the extension will not be “divided based on a market salary comparison, but instead will provide a fixed-percentage salary pool.”

In total, employees would receive up to a 5.5% increase annually for the first three years, before dropping to 4.5% for the last three years. However, the minimum salary increase is anywhere from 0% to 2% annually in the first three years, and then 2% annually for the final three years.

“Boeing has proven over the last few years they are going to give us the minimum every year,” the same frustrated union member said. “Feels like SPEEA execs are in bed with Boeing because we’re gaining nothing with this offer.”

He said he’s not alone in his discontent. He and other members learned in a meeting Friday morning that representatives who met Thursday night are largely not pleased with the terms.

SPEEA pointed out that the new contract does not include verbiage about an outstanding issue of misconduct. The union says Boeing skimmed funds from previous Tech Salary Adjustment Funds and distributed it to interns. The company admitted to the misconduct and promised to refund the money by increasing the Tech bargaining unit raise pool in the 2020 raise process.

The union is expected to vote Feb. 24 – March  9.

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