• Federal mediator may step in between Boeing and union


    SEATTLE - A federal mediator may be the next step in stuck contract talks between Boeing and the union for its engineers and technical workers.

    Members of Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA, overwhelmingly rejected Boeing's first contract offer on Oct. 1.

    The offer would have raised overall compensation for engineers by 3.5 percent annually for the next four years. The increase for technical workers would have been 3 percent the first year and 2.5 percent for the next three years. The union said the proposed pay raises would not keep up with inflation.

    The company also proposed switching retirement benefits for new hires from a pension plan to a 401k plan. The union said the proposal would provide 40 percent fewer dollars to the retiree.

    After two months of tense talks, the aerospace giant cut off further negotiations on Thursday and asked that a mediator step in.

    A strike is not imminent.

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