Boeing and the union representing tens of thousands of engineers and technicians had planned to meet for a negotiating session on Thursday, but that meeting has been canceled.
SPEEA, the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, said some of its negotiators couldn’t make the meeting, so the talks were rescheduled for next Tuesday morning.
In the absence of direct talks, the union and the company are firing public salvos.
Early Wednesday afternoon SPEEA said it had grown frustrated over the slow pace of negotiations.
Later, Boeing said it was prepared to make substantial economic proposals. In its statement, the company said, “The Boeing team has worked to withdraw or amend many of the issues raised by SPEEA in the company’s initial contract offer—without any substantive counterproposals by SPEEA.”
SPEEA spokesman Bill Dugovich said so far talks have not produced meaningful discussions on big issues like wages and medical and retirement benefits.
SPEEA members could go on strike starting November 25. Dugovich said the union intends to keep talking. So far, there are no plans to strike.
But the union is ramping up the pressure, asking members not to volunteer for overtime, especially over the upcoming holiday. Some SPEEA members are also pursuing their own “Work-to-rule” strategy, which can slow down the pace of work.
SPEEA represents 23,000 Boeing employees, with most working at the company's Puget Sound-region facilities.