Labor complaints reveal allegations Boeing retaliated against two workers

Labor complaints reveal allegations Boeing retaliated against two workers

A union representing Boeing engineers has alleged the planemaker retaliated against two employees who, at the time, were working on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide manufacturing oversight.

The allegations came to light in recent days after the Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace Association (SPEEA) filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of one of two engineers seeking to disclose a report from Boeing’s (BA) internal investigation into the incident filed with the FAA.

The complaint and a press release issued Tuesday by the union describe how the two workers “insisted the company reevaluate previous engineering work on the 777 and 787 to take into account the new FAA advisory” in 2022.

SPEEA said Boeing initially refused to redo the work before agreeing to do so, but then allegedly responded to both in their performance reviews.

The union said it was trying to appeal the decision not to change the performance evaluation of one of the workers. It said in a press release that “another (employee) has quit Boeing because of the way he was treated.”

The complaint, dated April 18, says “these two employees received (similar) lowered scores on the ‘Performance Value'” section of the performance review after raising their concerns. It went on to say that one of the employees later “filed a ‘Voice Report’ to challenge this apparent retaliation.” Boeing later investigated the incident, but the union said the company would not provide it with a copy of the report.

Boeing said the investigation is part of a confidential process and that the report can only be shared with the FAA.

“We have zero tolerance for retaliation and encourage our employees to speak up when they see an issue. After a thorough review of documentation and interviewing more than a dozen witnesses, our investigators found no evidence of retaliation or interference. We have determined the allegations are unfounded,” Boeing said in a statement.

The FAA said it is investigating the situation.

Last week, a Boeing whistleblower, Sam Salehpour, told congress that he had concerns about the way Boeing had combined its fuselages on the 787 and 777 and that he faced retaliation after raising those concerns.

The complaint filed on behalf of the two engineers involved a different issue— the in-flight computer network on the plane. The union said Boeing managers “vehemently objected” to rerunning calculations on the system based on new assumptions, citing cost and production delays, but Boeing eventually agreed.

“After nearly six months of debate, the two engineers, with support from the FAA, won. Boeing is re-doing the necessary analysis,” the press release said.

The union said negative performance reviews could harm engineers when it comes to promotions or could lead to their dismissal.

“Even after the two engineers’ managers admitted that he had rated them both poorly at the request of the 777 and 787 managers who had been forced to reassign their jobs, Boeing refused to change the engineers’ performance ratings,” the press release said. .

“Capital R ‘Retaliation’ or not, the fact remains that the two SPEEA members appointed by the ODA did the right thing and stuck to their guns despite heavy pressure from Boeing, and then hit with a career-destroying performance review. This helps demonstrate why Boeing does not have a healthy safety culture,” SPEEA Strategic Development Director Rich Plunkett said in the statement.

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