Boeing Aircraft Company Changes Course On Same-Sex Survivor Benefits
During extensive contract negotiations last November, Boeing executives told the union negotiators that since pensions are governed by federal law, which does not recognize same-sex marriages under the provisions of the Defence Of Marriage Act, it was the company's stance that even with passage Washington’s marriage equality law by voters, the federal law would override the state statue.
Friday, a union spokesperson acknowledged that in the latest round of contract negotiations between the Professional Engineering Employees in the Aerospace division and Boeing executives produced an agreement to the following language:
“Recognizing Boeing’s commitment to equality without regard to sexual orientation, Boeing will extend pension survivor benefits to all spouses, as defined under either State or Federal law whichever defines the same sex person as a spouse.”
“We are satisfied that this language protects same-sex spouses,” Ray Goforth, executive director of SPEEA’s IFPTE Local 2001, said.
The local represents 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers, most of whom are employed in Boeing plants in Washington State.
Last fall after the aircraft manufacturer initially denied the benefits, an online petition urging the company at Change.org to grant them received over 79K in signatures.
Although Boeing and the union reached agreement on the survivor benefits, the two sides are still far apart on other wage and working benefits according to the union.