SPEEA files unfair labor practice charge against Boeing

The union representing Boeing's engineers has filed an unfair labor practices charge against the company which it claimed photographed members marching at the Everett plant to support talks for a new contract.

The complaint was filed Wednesday by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001.

The specific charges relates to Boeing taking surveillance photographs of engineers and technical employees marching inside and outside the factory on Dec. 12 and after, according to a SPEEA press release.

Employer surveillance of union activities has consistently been ruled illegal because it has a tendency to intimidate employees into not exercising their rights to engage in union activities, according to SPEEA

SPEEA and Boeing are scheduled to resume negotiations Wednesday, Jan. 9. Federal mediators called for a break in talks before the holidays. The two sides started meeting in April to negotiate new contracts for 23,000 engineers and technical workers. In October, engineers rejected Boeing’s initial offer by 95.5 percent.

Technical workers rejected the company’s offer by 97 percent.  Existing contracts expired Nov. 25.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects employees’ rights to engage in concerted (union) activity and prohibits employers from interfering in these activities, according to SPEEA.

“This is well settled law that such surveillance is illegal,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “It’s disappointing to see Boeing leadership resort to intimidation rather than persuasion.”

A previous charge by SPEEA filed in October and now waiting action by the NLRB, relates to Boeing seizing employee cameras and photographs of the protected union marches, along with videotaping the events, according to SPEEA.

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