Boeing Renews Labor Talks



Boeing Co and the union that represents its 23,000 engineers and technicians agreed to resume labor talks earlier this week. Both sides have now been sparring over mediation of the talks as well as dates and times to meet. Boeing stated late Friday that the union declined its offer to attend meetings with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on Monday. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA, said that it contacted the mediator before Boeing, and have been accommodating in the places to meet. It has taken a bigger initiative in setting up dates, and has been the one waiting for Boeing to confirm these meetings. 

"I've responded that we have a mediator assigned to us ... but if Boeing is dissatisfied with that mediator, they need to take that up with FMCS not us," Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director, said.

"We also don't see the need to meet in a hotel. I offered to meet on Boeing property if that would make them comfortable."
Both sides have been seeking to negotiate since April for a labor contract that ended November 25th. An analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach that has followed Boeing stated that he has hope that the dispute will be resolved with mediation. He notes that there has not been a strike by the SPEEA since 2000 and are rare.
Boeing states that it has offered a fair proposal in a tough economic environment. The new proposal would still cut back the growth rate of compensation of for both engineering and technical employees significantly. These disputes come at a time when Boeing has enjoyed record production rates and orders, and is looking to increase jet production from 52 to 60 per month.
Boeing's stock price only dropped 3 cents to $74.09 reflecting the opinion that this conflict will be resolved in the near future and will not cause any serious damage to Boeing's production.
-Rishi Chheda