Boeing submits new proposal to SPEEA

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Trying to break a months-long deadlock at the negotiating table, Boeing today submitted a revised proposal to 23,000 engineers and technical workers who have already authorised a strike.

Boeing says the proposal represents the second salary increase offered to the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) since the first proposal was submitted to the union on 13 September.

Union officials, however, countered that the new deal appears to merely reduce cuts to wages and training programmes. SPEEA also criticised Boeing for submitting an "incomplete" offer to the negotiating committee and for publicising the proposal before its leadership could review it.

SPEEA officials also are concerned that Boeing claims to need four more days to submit a completely revised proposal.

"What are they trying to hide?" asked Sandy Hastings, a SPEEA technical team member, in a statement released by the union.

Boeing passed a full version of the proposal on paper to the SPEEA negotiating team, says Mike Delaney, vice president of engineering for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The union asked for an electronic version of the full proposal. In a previous revision, Boeing inadvertently provided an electronic document that contained errors, Delaney says. Boeing now is reviewing the electronic copy line by line to avoid making similar mistakes, he adds, explaining the four-day delay.

Both sides remain deadlocked after almost eight months of negotiations. The previous contract expired on 25 November, allowing SPEEA to go on strike. But the two sides re-entered talks with the participation of the Federal Mediation Service. Negotiations are scheduled to resume on 16 January.