SPEEA/Boeing Still at Impasse

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Contract talks between Boeing and its SPEEA union are off. The union will vote next week on the contract and on whether to authorize a strike.

Many viewers have been commenting about a strike possibility during a recession.

"I think they're kind of selfish," says one person.

Kristy from Wichita comments: "No kidding? It all sounds great to me. Just be thankful you have a job."

SPEEA's Bob Brewer also sees the comments.

"I get calls. I get emails from people," he says. "I'm responding to engineers of spouses right now."

But Brewer will be hard-pressed to convince many people.

"I think it would be a mistake for them to go on strike because of the way the economy is," says another poster. "There's no guarantee that they'll have a job."

Brewer says he understands why people are commenting. Wichitans see layoffs occurring at the plane makers including Boeing.

"There are a lot of companies right now that are actually suffering due to the economic conditions," Brewer says. "Boeing is not one of those companies."

Boeing, on the other hand, stands by its contract offer, saying it is competitive for the Wichita market and for the type of modification work done in Wichita.

"They're trying to use the economic conditions in these negotiations to put a very deficient offer on the table," Brewer claims.

Boeing says the offer allows it to remain competitive here. Brewer points out, though, engineers are still in demand.

"Engineers have lots of opportunities, he says. "Spirit, three feet across the sidewalk here in Wichita, has requirements for hundreds of engineers right now. So the engineering market is not dead."

Among other things, Boeing is offering 3% wage pool raises. SPEEA's Brewer says the company rejected the union's 4% request.

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