Boeing engineers allege retaliation over safety concerns

Apr 23, 2024, 2:38 PM

Boeing production floor...

Boeing production floor in Everett. (Photo: Bill Kaczaraba/MyNorthwest)

(Photo: Bill Kaczaraba/MyNorthwest)

Two engineers from Boeing’s Everett facility have alleged retaliation by the company’s management after they insisted on a re-evaluation of work on the 787 and 777 airliners in 2022, according to a claim from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) union.

The engineers argued that the work needed to be reviewed under a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory. However, Boeing resisted, citing increased costs and potential delays. Despite the pushback, the analysis was eventually carried out.

Following the review, both engineers received identical negative evaluations during their performance reviews. One of the engineers has since left the company, while the SPEEA union has filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint on behalf of the other.

Whistleblower: Boeing involved in ‘criminal cover-up’

The case involves the Organization Delegation Authorization (ODA) process, which allows Boeing employees to certify the company’s work on behalf of the FAA. The two engineers, acting under ODA authority, insisted on using a different set of assumptions in the analysis of the on-board computer networks on Boeing 777s and 787s to comply with the new FAA guidance.

After nearly six months of debate, the engineers, backed by the FAA, prevailed, and Boeing re-did the required analysis.

One engineer filed a complaint which Boeing is required to respond to. SPEEA is currently seeking access to this report to appeal the remaining engineer’s negative performance review.

More on safety: Boeing put under Senate scrutiny during back-to-back hearings on aircraft maker’s safety culture

SPEEA Director of Strategic Development, Rich Plunkett, stated, “Whether it’s capital R ‘Retaliation’ or not, the fact remains that the two ODA-designated SPEEA members did the right thing and stuck to their guns despite heavy pressure from Boeing, and then got hit with career-damaging performance reviews. This helps show why Boeing doesn’t have a healthy safety culture.”

KIRO Newsradio has reached out to Boeing for comment. The case continues to unfold.

Heather Bosch is an award-winning anchor and reporter on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of her stories here. Follow Heather on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

Contributing: Bill Kaczaraba, MyNorthwest

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Boeing engineers allege retaliation over safety concerns