* Boeing's latest offer delivered by email Monday
* SPEEA looking over terms before talks resume
* Union head expects no hidden 'diamonds'
SEATTLE, Jan 14 Negotiators representing 23,000
Boeing Co engineers are due to restart contract talks on
Wednesday after digesting the full terms of the company's latest
offer, delivered by email on Monday afternoon.
But prospects of an agreement over a new contract seem as
far away as ever, even as the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration opens an investigation into the safety of
Boeing's 787 aircraft, which will require thorough scrutiny of
Boeing's engineering operations.
"The documents just came in two minutes ago, so we haven't
even had a chance to look at them," said Ray Goforth, executive
director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in
Aerospace (SPEEA), on Monday. "The negotiating team intends to
spend tomorrow looking at them and then we will be meeting with
the company at 1 pm Pacific time (2100 GMT) on Wednesday".
The latest offer, made on paper on Friday, and delivered in
full electronically on Monday afternoon, boosts raises for
professional workers by 5 percent in each of the first two years
of the four-year agreement, and 4 percent in each of the
Technicians, a separate category, would get 4 percent raises
all four years. Contract provisions, including healthcare and
retirement benefits, are unchanged.
SPEEA gave the latest offer a lukewarm reception.
"I don't imagine there's any bags of diamonds hidden in
there," said Goforth.
Boeing was more optimistic.
"We feel very good about this offer and look forward to
discussing it more with SPEEA's team when we sit back down on
Wednesday," said Boeing spokesman Doug Alder Jr.
The offer comes after three days of talks in Seattle with
federal mediators last week. The union has not authorized a
strike, but has been conducting strike training and Goforth has
said a strike appears likely.
The U.S. government on Friday mandated a wide-ranging review
of the design and manufacture of Boeing's latest passenger jet,
the 787 Dreamliner, citing concern over a fire and other recent
problems but insisting the plane was still safe to fly.