SEATTLE Jan 22 Union leaders representing
23,000 engineers and technical workers at Boeing Co said
Tuesday they will decide by Jan. 31 whether to ask members to
vote on a strike authorization alongside the latest contract
Boeing made a final offer last week that included bigger pay
raises and no reduction in healthcare benefits, but it would
reduce retirement benefits for future workers.
The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in
Aerospace (SPEEA) said its bargaining unit councils would hold
meetings with members before councils vote at the end of the
month. They met with some members Tuesday and have recommended
that members reject Boeing's offer to replace a four-year
agreement that expired in November.
"We could have gotten the strike authorization tonight,"
SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth said.
But, he added, "our members just found out about the offer
Friday. They haven't even begun to digest what it means. We have
a lot of education to do before it would be responsible to ask
people to vote on it."
Ballots will be mailed to members during the week of Feb. 4.
The risk of a strike comes as Boeing faces an investigation
by the National Transportation Safety Board and a design and
manufacturing review by the Federal Aviation Administration for
problems with its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The NTSB is investigating an incident in Boston where a
lithium-ion battery caught fire on a jet parked at a gate. It is
also assisting Japanese regulators probing a battery that failed
on a flight in Japan, prompting an emergency landing and
evacuation. The two battery incidents, coming just days apart,
have raised questions about the FAA's review of that system in
After the battery incidents, the FAA grounded the 787s in
the United States, operated by United Airlines, and
other regulators around the group followed, stopping flights by
all 50 Dreamliners in service. It was the first such move since
1979. The biggest operators of 787s are Japan Airlines
and launch customer All Nippon Airways.