Boeing engineers reject four-year contract offer

Tue Oct 2, 2012 3:02am EDT
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By Alwyn Scott

(Reuters) - In a widely expected show of force Boeing Co's(BA.N: Quote) engineers and technical workers rejected a pay offer late Monday, setting the stage for talks to resume Tuesday for labor agreements covering 23,000 workers.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace said 95.5 percent of engineers and 97.1 percent of technicians voted against the contract offer, sending their bargaining teams back to the negotiating table.

The union and Boeing had agreed before the mail-in ballots were counted that if the contract offer was voted down they would meet Tuesday to continue discussions on a deal to replace two labor agreements that expire on October 6.

Figures released by Speea showed 15,097 members voted to reject the contract, compared with 608 who supported it, with 72 percent of all members voting.

"We hope the vote results clear away the nonsense and allow us to begin substantive negotiations," said Ray Goforth, executive director of Speea in a statement.

Boeing issued a statement saying: "We are committed to continuing discussions, answering questions and considering any proposals or counter-proposals from your negotiations team."

Analysts said they did not expect the vote to affect Boeing's operations or share price in the short term, since engineers can continue working under the current contract after it expires on October 6.

Boeing said that should talks go beyond October 6, the contract would terminate on November 25 because Speea had filed a 60-day termination notice.   Continued...

Workers celebrate as the first 787 Dreamliner passenger jet to be assembled at Boeing's South Carolina facility is rolled out during a ceremony in North Charleston, in this April 27, 2012, file photo. One of Boeing's chief labour unions staged rallies in and around Seattle this week, calling attention to a vote set for October 1, 2012, that will show whether workers are willing to accept a less generous contract offered by Boeing Co. or move closer to a strike. REUTERS/ Mary Ann Chastain/Files