Boeing begins contract talks with engineers union

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) – Negotiators for Boeing Co. and the union for its engineers and technicians shook hands across a table Tuesday at a SeaTac hotel and sat down to start talks on a new contract.

Chicago-based Boeing expects to deliver its best offer around mid-November, and members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace will vote by mail before the first of next month.

The union represents nearly 18,000 engineers and technical workers in the Puget Sound region. Separate talks covering 800 SPEEA members in Wichita, Kan., will start Nov. 8 to renew a contact that expires Dec. 5.

Both sides would like to avoid a repeat of the Machinists union strike that shut down airplane production for four weeks in September.

SPEEA Director Charles Bofferding said his members want market-leading compensation, improvements in the pension program and no increase in medical premiums.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Alan Mulally has said he wants a package that “works for employees and supports our business plan.”