Just before noon Wednesday 500 Boeing engineers and technical workers marched through the Renton facility’s factory floor before a “Vote NO!” demonstration outside the facility’s public entrance along Logan Avenue.
Across the Puget Sound, thousands more Boeing employees also spent their lunch break making a public stand against Boeing’s latest contract proposal with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA).
Bill Dugovich, communications director for SPEEA, estimates 3,775 workers participated in the union’s demonstration including 2,500 in Everett; 500 in Renton; 400 in Duwamish; 200 at the Development Center; 150 at Thompson; and 25 retirees who picketed outside the Boeing Seattle Corporate office.
Boeing employee Kernan Scott who joined the rally objects to multiple parts of Boeing’s latest contract proposal.
“It’s the lowest wage selective pool that they’ve had since 1975,” he said, adding “They’ve increased our medical deductibles to where even the wage increase would probably not cover it.”
SPEEA IFPTE Local 2001 President Tom McCarty said the new terms are not justified based on Boeing’s success and current order backlog.
If Boeing wants to bill itself as providing a superior product, the company should provide its workforce with compensation that reflects that, he said.
“People will pay a premium for Boeing products,” he said. “It’s not unreasonable (for its employees) to ask for a little above average.”
“We’re trying to defend the middle class,” he said. “A lot of people get what we’re trying to do."
If the number of honking car horns from cars passing the demonstration is any indication, McCarty’s statement rings true.
Members must cast their vote on the proposal.
“A large number of members have already cast ballots which will be counted Monday, October 1, at SPEEA headquarters in Tukwila. Voting closes at 5 p.m. Results will be announced on our website immediately after certification by the SPEEA Northwest Tellers,” Dugovich wrote in an email to Patch.