The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace alleges Boeing violated federal labor law by telling union members they were prohibited from making negative comments about the company. SPEEA filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday.
Boeing and SPEEA leaders have been negotiating a new labor contract to replace the one that expires Oct. 6. However, SPEEA's by-laws require the union to mail ballots two weeks prior to the contract vote. A labor complaint doesn't bode well for future negotiations.
SPEEA represents 23,000 engineers and technical workers, mostly in the Puget Sound region.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the union also noted it has "received numerous complaints from employees about managers telling them to remove and not display union material at their personal workstation."
A spokesman for Boeing did not return requests for comment.
Although the two sides have been meeting for months, SPEEA officials have complained about Boeing's unwillingness to present the union with a complete contract offer.
Boeing has remained relatively quiet about negotiations with SPEEA. However, the company has explained its position on various aspects of negotiations on its website. For instance, company officials recently noted that they offer a compensation package "that recognizes and rewards engineers and technical workers for critical contributions to Boeing's success."
Boeing's website also lists "do's" and "don'ts" for managers of SPEEA-represented employees.
"It's OK to talk about the company's views and make sure employees have the facts. We encourage managers to talk to their employees and be viewed as the accurate source of information about negotiations," Boeing told its managers on the website.
Boeing and SPEEA officials were scheduled to resume contract talks on Thursday.
As the second largest union at Boeing, SPEEA has staged only two labor strikes in its history: a 40-day strike in 2000 and a one-day work stoppage in 1993.
Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3453; firstname.lastname@example.org.