Engineers at Boeing to Receive Portion of $47 Million Arbitration Award
About 500 current and former engineers with Boeing Co. will be receiving an average payout of $97,000 each as a result of the final settlement of a legal battle begun almost 15 years ago. The engineers, represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace IFPTE Local 2001, were denied compensation under union rules because Boeing denied their legitimacy as union members. The work in question was performed at Edwards Air Force Base or at a Boeing facility in Palmdale, California, during the entire period from the year 2001 to the present day.
Boeing’s contention was that engineers who were added to projects contracted out to SPEEA through mergers and other administrative events should have been excluded from the union agreements as they were not members when Boeing negotiated the terms. SPEEA disputed this, asserting that employees had the option to join the union and receive the full benefits upon hire. Boeing expressed disappointment with the arbitration ruling, but signaled it would comply.
The award will be divided between 484 current and former employees based on back pay. Some will receive only a few dollars, while others could receive up to $400,000. For many retired or near-retirement engineers, this could represent a significant change in their retirement and lifestyle.