Boeing's number two employee union, which has been involved in negotiations with the aircraft-maker, has called on its members to grant it authorization to take strike action if need be.

In a letter to its members the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) claims Boeing has been "stalling on responding to SPEEA counterproposals" so the union has called a vote and wants its members to give the SPEEA negotiating teams the power to call a strike if necessary.

The move "comes after two days of non-productive and discouraging dialogue with Boeing over key economic issues including wages, pensions, medical benefits and the company's ongoing attempts to strip Utah engineers from the professional contract."

The SPEEA claims that Boeing's negotiating team is pushing an agenda to "keep wages low, remove pensions for new hires" and create a situation where employees are split into smaller and smaller groups so as to dilute their bargaining power in future wage negotiations.

It also claims Boeing has been quizzing SPEEA members to see what the employees will be willing to accept.

The SPEEA says this "employee polling is not acceptable".

Boeing's largest union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, went on strike in early September and only started returning to work on 2 November.

That strike resulted in delays to aircraft deliveries, costing the company up to $100 million for every day of the strike.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news