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Boeing Workers Vote To Unionize

June 30, 2000

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Clerical and technical workers at Boeing Wichita narrowly voted for union representation Thursday. Two previous attempts to unionize had failed.

The salaried workers _ about one-fourth of the company’s Wichita work force_ were asked to decide whether they wanted to affiliate with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which represents Boeing engineers.

The final tally was 1,924 in favor and 1,859 against unionization.

``We have given ourselves a structure; now we need to build on that structure,″ said Charles Boefferding, SPEEA organizer.

Boeing spokesman Dick Ziegler said the company had not decided whether to appeal the vote.

``Obviously the company is very disappointed with the outcome of the vote and will be reviewing the events of today,″ he said.

The vote adds 4,200 workers to SPEEA’s ranks in Wichita. They include general office workers, technicians, designers, drafters, systems analyst, planners and programmers.

SPEEA now will represent 22,600 Boeing engineers and technical workers, including 1,300 engineers in Wichita.

Only a few hundred of the 16,600 workers at Boeing Wichita will not be represented by one of five unions, making the plant the most heavily unionized aircraft manufacturer in the country, according to SPEEA.

Wichita workers said SPEEA’s strike by engineers in Seattle was a factor in their decision to vote for union representation.

``It helped a lot of employees realize SPEEA was a strong union and they could be proud to be a part of that,″ said Boeing worker Daniel Mengoni.

Similar efforts to organize the salaried, white-collar employees were voted down in 1987 and 1988.

The union would be Boeing’s second largest after the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents about 9,100 Wichita plant employees.

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