By Alwyn Scott
NEW YORK Jan 30 Boeing Co notched up
bonuses for engineers, machinists and other employees on
Thursday, a response to the company's strong 2013 performance.
Some 109,000 workers are eligible for a payout that is
"among the highest-ever levels", the company said.
The group includes non-represented employees as well as
engineers and technicians represented by the Society of
Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), Boeing
The bonus equates to between 6.15 percent and 6.54 percent
of eligible 2013 pay, up from a range of 5.67 to 6.1 percent in
2012. About 51,600 of the workers are in Washington state.
Separately, about 31,000 machinists will get bonuses of 4
percent of eligible pay, the maximum under their contract,
Boeing had a succession of highly profitable quarters in
2013 as it cranked up production of commercial jets, offsetting
weakness in its defense businesses.
On Wednesday, Boeing said profit rose 18 percent for the
full year, during which it delivered a record 648 commercial
Alongside the profit report, however, Boeing made a
conservative forecast for 2014, suggesting earnings will rise
only about 2 percent.
While Boeing often manages expectations down at the start of
the year, its stock fell nearly 8 percent in two days, including
a slide of 2.5 percent on Thursday to $126.53.
The bonuses come as Boeing is mending relations with its
unions after a bitter contract vote by the machinists earlier
this month. The company faces tough technical challenges in
developing two new jets, the 777X and the 737 MAX during the
rest of the decade.
The machinists recently ratified by a narrow margin an
eight-year extension to their labor contract. The vote on Jan. 3
brought out deep divisions within the union and between the
workers and Boeing.
The new contract guaranteed machinists work on the 777X. In
exchange, the workers agreed to end their defined-benefit
pension and replace it with a defined-contribution plan.
McNerney said on Wednesday that he saw the relationship with
the machinists improving and that the head of Boeing's airplane
business, Ray Conner, was "reaching out" to the unions and the
unions are "also reaching out."
"There's more interaction right now between IAM-751 and the
management in Seattle than there has been in a long time," he
IAM officials in Seattle said there had been no meetings
between local union officials and the company. They welcomed the
bonus as a sign of the contribution workers made.
"It's good to see them getting rewarded for their skills and
hard work," said Bryan Corliss, spokesman for the IAM District
751, which represents about 31,000 workers at Boeing.
As for the mood of the workers, he said: "It's going to be
awhile before we're 'one Boeing' again."