Aerospace Industry Update

Article excerpt

Aerospace industry update

A new 3-year contract, covering 6,000 employees in the Eddystone, PA, area, was reached between Local 1069 of the United Auto Workers and Boeing Helicopters, a leading producer of military rotorcraft. The pact is similar to one Boeing Helicopter's parent company, The Boeing Co., negotiated with the Machinists earlier. (See Monthly Labor Review, February 1990 for terms of that settlement.) The Boeing--Machinists settlement, the first in the 1989 round of negotiations in the aerospace industries, was expected to influence subsequent settlements in the industry.

The Boeing Helicopter--Auto Workers contract provided for a 4-percent wage boost retroactive to October 5, 1989, and 3-percent increases in October of 1990 and 1991. In addition, employees received a lump-sum payment in December 1989, equal to 10 percent of their earnings during the preceding 12 months, to be followed by a similar 5-percent payment in December 1990 and a 4-percent payment in December 1991.

Other provisions include:

* A new cost-of-living formula providing quarterly adjustments at the rate of 1 cent an hour for each .075-percent change in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

* An increase in the noncontributory retirement plan's monthly pension rate to $30 for each year of credited service for employees retiring on or after January 1, 1990. (Under the prior contract, rates were $22 for years of credited service earned prior to 1987, $24 for 1987 and 1988, and $26 for 1989.) Also, on January 1, 1990, the monthly pension rate increased by $1 for each year of credited service for retirees who left the company between January 1, 1984, and December 1, 1986, and by $2 for each year of credited service for retirees who left prior to 1984.

* Several improvements in medical benefits, including a reduced number of in-patient surgical procedures requiring a second opinion, expanded coverage for well-baby care, and increased benefit limits for substance abuse. Other medical plan changes include coverage for nutritional guidance, infusion therapy, organ donor expenses, routine physical examinations for active employees and their spouses, and certain eating disorders.

At Boeing in Seattle, WA, members of the Seattle Professional Engineering Employees Association rejected a tentative accord covering about 15,000 engineers and scientists, and accepted a contract for 12,000 technical employees. Negotiations on the two contracts had resulted in settlements which met most of the association's demands, except for general wage increases, lump-sum payments, and cost-of-living allowances. Even after the association scaled back its demands, the company's final money package presented to association memebers for ratification reportedly was below that in the Boeing--Machinists settlement.

The association's proposal for the technicians called for a 14-percent general wage increase in the first year, followed by selective adjustments every 6 months thereafter; improvements in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) provision; and a modification in the wage structure.

Boeing's counter proposal, which was accepted by the association, provided for a general wage increase of 3 percent retroactive to December 2, 1989, and 2-percent increases in December of 1990 and 1991; lump-sum payments equal to 10 percent of an employee's earnings in the preceding 12 months, payable in December 1989, followed by a similar 5-percent payment in December 1990 and a 4-percent payment in December 1991; selective adjustments of 2 percent in June of each year; and no modification of the present COLA clause or the wage structure.

While the Seattle-based engineers were rejecting the tentative settlement at Boeing, 1,700 engineers at the company's Wichita, KS, facility, represented by the Machinists, ratified a new 3-year contract that provides essentially the same terms as the Seattle Professional Engineering Employees Association agreement for the technicians. …