The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), filed unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against The Boeing Company Friday after the aerospace giant reportedly videotaped union members as they engaged in solidarity marches in support of contract negotiations. The charges also allege that Boeing Company employees seized union members’ cameras and deleted photos of the activities.
SPEEA IFPTE Local 2001, filed the two charges against Boeing after receiving complaints from members at multiple Boeing locations. The alleged unfair labor practices occurred during lunchtime solidarity events by SPEEA members in Portland and Everett in late September. The National Labor Relation Act (NLRA) protects Employees’ rights to engage in union activity and prohibits employers from interfering in those activities.
“Taking video of employees on a lunchtime march is nothing more than intimidation and harassment,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “The company has no legitimate reason to confiscate cameras and delete photos.”
For the past few weeks, SPEEA members have held solidarity marches, meetings and other events at many Boeing facilities to show support for their SPEEA negotiation teams. Marches ranged from a few dozen employees to more than 2,500 at the Everett plant. SPEEA continues to gather information about the surveillance and photo seizing and is asking members to document and report incidents to union officials.
The first charge reads: “… the Employer has engaged in surveillance of protected concerted activity and has otherwise interfered with that activity by videotaping and photographing employees engaged in peaceful, protected concerted activity in Portland, OR.”
The second charge reads: “… the Employer has interfered with members engaging in protected concerted activity by confiscating photographs taken by employees of other employees engaging in protected concerted activity.”
SPEEA and Boeing began meeting weekly in April for contract negotiations that will affect 23,000 engineers and technical workers at facilities around Puget Sound, Portland, Utah and California.
Boeing presented a new contract offer on Sept. 13; however, Engineers rejected that offer by a 95.5 percent vote on October 1. Technical workers rejected the offer by 97 percent. SPEEA and Boeing met briefly at the Longacres office on Tuesday, Oct. 2 to kick off a new round of negotiations. The next full negotiations session is set for Wednesday, October 10.
If The Boeing Company recorded union marchers and destroyed unoin members' photos, should the company be charged for unfair labor practices?