Boeing: Please extend pension survivor benefits to LGBT employees
  • Petitioned Jim McNerney

This petition was delivered to:

Chairman President & CEO of The Boeing Company
Jim McNerney

Boeing: Please extend pension survivor benefits to LGBT employees

    1. Kenneth Aphibal
    2. Petition by

      Kenneth Aphibal

      Seattle, WA

On November 6, 2012, the voters of Washington State passed Referendum 74 to approve marriage equality in Washington. With this law upheld by the people, Washington State stands to support and protect all families.

I am an employee of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, a division of The Boeing Company, based in Seattle, Washington. The Boeing Company is a Chicago, Illinois based aerospace company and one of the nation's top defense contractors.

At Boeing, one of the employee retirement benefits is a defined benefit pension plan, where survivor benefits would allow continuation of pension payments to the employee's spouse, should the employee die. Survivor benefits were put in place to protect families against the hardships caused by the loss of their loved ones.

Currently today, Boeing only provides survivor benefits to employees of different-sex married couples, excluding employees of same-sex married couples and their families from the protection and peace of mind that comes with survivor benefits.

During contract negotiations on November 21, 2012, between the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)* and Boeing, the Boeing Negotiation Team was clear that Boeing would continue to deny survivor benefits to employees of same-sex married couples under its defined benefit pension plan, even after Referendum 74 approved marriage equality.

Boeing is not required to extend survivor benefits to same-sex married couples because pensions are governed by federal law, which currently does not recognize same-sex marriage. But as a Boeing employee, I believe Boeing should include all employees.

At the federal level, the Obama administration and eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, has found Section 3: Definition of Marriage of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. Earlier this year, President Obama affirmed his support for marriage equality. While not required, corporate social equality should be the driving force for Boeing to make the right decision.

Boeing states on its website that Diversity and Inclusion are part of Boeing's values at the highest level

Now is the time for Boeing to continue to drive inclusion and mutual respect into every corner of this enterprise, by showing an equal commitment to its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) workforce as said in the Boeing Diversity Video: We are Diversity At Boeing.

I strongly urge The Boeing Company to honor the people of Washington State by extending survivor benefits to employees of same-sex married couples at Contract Negotiations and show equality for all Boeing employees.

*SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001 represents 23,000 Professional Engineers and Technical Workers, with most working at Boeing's Puget Sound-region facilities.

Recent signatures


    1. CEO Jim McNerney Speaks at Boeing's 2013 Global Diversity Summit (cont.)

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      Jim McNerney and Richard (Rick) Stephens, senior vice president of Human Resources and Administration responded by saying that the company must observe and take careful approach to Federal and State legality as the U.S. Supreme Court rules on DOMA.

      Rick Stephens reiterated that the company will be keeping a close eye on DOMA and will continue to review and evaluate the implications it will have for Boeing.

      I'm not a lawyer, but I can see why Boeing will not be hasty on this. If DOMA does not get struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, states could enact laws that may compromise Boeing's ability to extend those benefits to employees.

      The case remains open for non-SPEEA Boeing employees outside the state of Washington.

      15 States Tell Supreme Court DOMA Is Unconstitutional

      WASHINGTON -- Fifteen states will urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, arguing that the law preventing the federal government from recognizing gay marriage is unconstitutional. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley plan to file a friend-of-the-court brief on Friday, their offices said.

    2. CEO Jim McNerney Speaks at Boeing's 2013 Global Diversity Summit

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      On March 6, 2013, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney spoke at the annual company Global Diversity Summit at Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, where
      I, Kenneth Aphibal, was able to ask the following closing question:

      "Hello Jim, my name is Kenneth Aphibal and I am representing the 47/67/777 Interiors Engineering Interiors Diversity Council. Thanks for being here and sharing such a strong message regarding diversity in thought and the competitive advantage it brings.

      I want to applaud the company for being a leader and example to the industry and other US corporations by recognizing same-sex marriages in Washington and extending survivor benefits to LGBT SPEEA members.

      Currently today, there is still disparity in the work force, when it comes to benefits for all Boeing LGBT employees. What message do you believe this sends to the LGBT work force, and how can we as diversity change agents keep that workforce truly engage?"

      I'll summarize his response on next post...

    3. SPEEA Divided with Profs Accept and Tech Reject

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      Vote count in with a Reject from the Tech Unit.

      NW Professional Unit
      Accept 6,483 Reject 5,514
      Strike Authorization DO: 6,727 DO NOT:5,249

      NW Technical Unit
      Accept 2,868 Reject 3,203
      Strike Authorization DO: 3,903 DO NOT: 2,165 - Split decision on SPEEA contract offer

      Technical workers reject offer while engineers approve it; techs to return to talks with Boeing Boeing Co. workers came to different conclusions about the company's contract with engineers accepting it and technical workers rejecting Boeing's four-year deal. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace announced results of the contract vote late Tuesday night.

    4. SPEEA Ballot's Due Tonight

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      After Boeing provided their Best and Final Offer (BAFO) that includes protective language for same-sex couples will be voted on today. SPEEA's Negotiation Team and Bargaining Unit Councils for both Profs and Techs advise to "REJECT" the contract and "DO" vote strike authorization to add another level of pressure to Boeing to keep the pension for new hire SPEEA members, protective language for 'scrap the cap' legislation (which affects the value of member's pension when using a company alternate calculation), and protective language for retiree medical benefits to be extended from age 65 to the time the member is eligible for government medical plans (i.e. Medicare).

      We wait tonight to see what the members will vote.

      Tuesday is SPEEA vote deadline

      Boeing's engineer union continued voting on a new contract Monday, as the deadline on whether to accept or reject and possibly strike looms. The deadline is Tuesday at 5 p.m. The union, SPEEA, represents 23,000 engineers. It has been negotiating with Boeing since October when the union rejected an earlier contract.

    5. Inclusive Boeing Language For SPEEA Members

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth was reported by that Boeing's reversal will advocate for all SPEEA members:

      "if the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned by the Supreme Court this year, the language will protect same-sex couples in any state, even if that state does not itself recognize marriage equality:

      'This language also protects members if same-sex marriage is recognized at the federal level but made illegal at the state level,' Goforth says. For example, benefits could still apply if the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is struck down and marriage equality is legal, 'but then a state adopts its own discriminatory statute,' he says."

      While SPEEA members may be covered, I'd like to see Boeing to have their spokesperson publicly commit to extend the benefits to include non-SPEEA employees.

      Boeing Reverses And Agrees To Pension Benefits For Married Same-Sex Couples

      In November, after marriage equality passed in Washington state, the Boeing Company said it would not extend survivor benefits to the same-sex spouses of its employees. The company argued that the benefits were governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and as a federal law it was governed by the Defense of Marriage [...]

    6. Reports Boeing's Reversal

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      Boeing rejected SPEEA's "Best and Final" offer, but news continues to report that the policy around the Same-Sex Survivor Benefits, seems to be inclusive.

      Boeing Reverses Course, Will Offer Gay Spouses Survivor Benefits

      Aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co., which had resisted granting equal survivor pension benefits to same-sex spouses despite Washington State's new marriage equality law, has now agreed to do so, reports Seattle newspaper The Stranger.

    7. SPEEA Reports to The Stranger Boeing Will Extend Benefits

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      This isn't a victory yet, but we are very close with talks. Your support has led to Boeing making the right decision for all employees.

      Not yet confirmed by Boeing spokesperson, but SPEEA said at the Negotiations, Boeing stated it would recognize all married couples, atty least where recognized by state law.

      Boeing Agrees to Provide Equal Pension Benefits to Married Gay Couples | Slog

      Boeing has finally agreed to grant pension survivor benefits to same-sex married couples equal to their straight counterparts, according to a deal hammered out today with the union representing thousands of the company's technical workers. That's a change for the aerospace giant (which is locked in sour union negotiations while its flagship 787 Dreamliner has been grounded by the FAA).

    8. More Coverage on the "Best and Final" Offer from SPEEA to Boeing

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer - SPEEA proposes Boeing contract extension in light of 787 woes

      With 787 woes piling up, the Boeing Co. faces a potential strike by the engineers and technical workers tasked with coming up with solutions on the Dreamliner. However, Boeing could make its union troubles disappear if it accepts a proposal to extend for four years its most recent contract with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which represents 22,950 Boeing workers.

    9. SPEEA Proposes "Best and Final" Offer to Boeing on January 16th

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      Check out SPEEA's website for the latest information on Negotiations.

      At the January 16th Negotiations, SPEEA presented an offer that would incorporate "areas of agreement from ongoing negotiations into existing contracts and extending our Boeing contracts for another four years" that exists in the contract agreement from 2008, with the intent of SPEEA and Boeing returning much of their focus to the issues faced by the 787 Dreamliner.

      In the offer, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was also presented, where Boeing would need to recognize Washington Referendum 74 and "extend pension survivor benefits to all spouses as determined under State or Federal law with the most inclusive law prevailing."

      SPEEA Website

      Professional Aerospace Union

    10. Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Stand in Support of Marriage Equality

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      Alaska AFA President Jeffrey Peterson said the following:

      “AFA has a longstanding commitment to equality regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression which is why Alaska Flight Attendants stand in solidarity with our aviation colleagues at Boeing in their struggle for equal rights. With an all-Boeing fleet of aircraft, Alaska Flight Attendants depend on the professionalism and dedication of SPEEA members each and every day.

      “Voters in nine states across the nation have instructed their elected representatives to address marriage equality issues. Recently in Washington, all couples regardless of gender finally have the opportunity to legally marry. Yet, Boeing is refusing to recognize married couples equally.

      “We are all partners in the success of the aviation industry and we call on Boeing executives to provide equal benefits to all couples legally married under state law.”

    11. Negotiations Resumed... 2013 Begins

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer

      Negotiations between The Boeing Company and SPEEA resumed Wednesday, January 9th, with assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The information from those discussions have not yet been released.

      January 9th was also the 'Day of Action', where thousands of SPEEA members acted with solidarity with marches through the factory and offices or listen to SPEEA Negotiation Team members give updates on the message they plan on sending Boeing.

      Boeing engineers' strike in 2000 casts shadow over current talks

      Boeing engineers and the company are supposed to meet with a federal mediator today - but union leaders say the two sides are still far apart. Looming

    12. Reached 75,000 signatures
    13. Reached 7,500 signatures
    14. Talks are tough, Mediation stopped until next year.

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer - Talks on hiatus: Boeing, SPEEA 'very far apart'

      Nearly eight months after contract talks began, the Boeing Co. and the union representing engineers and technical workers are no closer to reaching an agreement. In some respects, they're farther apart, judging by the increased level of frustration expressed by the company and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

    15. A Great Summary by PolicyMic about Boeing and DOMA

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer
      Why Boeing Loves DOMA

      Federal recognition of marriage-related financial benefits for same-sex couples is the crux of the battle to rescind the Defense of Marriage Act. Same sex marriage is not recognized in any federal court, and same sex marriage couples are not eligible to receive any federal benefits - including military spousal survivor, social security, and tax relief and immigration laws governing spouses.

    16. Puget Sound Local News Komo 4 Interviews Petition Organizer (me)

      Kenneth Aphibal
      Petition Organizer
      Gay Boeing employee fighting for better benefits

      EVERETT, Wash. -- Washington voters approved gay marriage, but some local companies are still wavering on what the means for their benefit plans. One Boeing worker is now taking steps to make sure equality spreads through the workplace. Under the state's domestic partnership law, Washington employers must provide benefits to their employees in same sex relationships.

    17. Reached 4,000 signatures
    18. SeattleTimes: Employee petitions Boeing on benefits for married gay workers

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director
      Employee petitions Boeing on pension benefits for married gay workers

      Boeing employee Ken Aphibal has drafted a petition letter to Jim McNerney, president and CEO of the aerospace company, urging him to "honor the people of Washington State" by extending survivor pension benefits to married gay employees. More than 500 people have signed Aphibal's online petition. He hopes to get 50,000 signatures.

    19. Seattle PI: Boeing feels heat over same-sex survivor pensions

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Boeing's stance on pension benefits for same-sex survivor spouses of employees has become an international issue, after arising in the midst of contentious negotiations between the company and its union engineers.

      Boeing feels heat over same-sex survivor pensions

      Boeing's stance on pension benefits for same-sex survivor spouses of employees has become an international issue, after arising in the midst of contentious negotiations between the company and its union engineers. After voters approved same-sex marriage in Washington, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) asked Boeing about spousal pension benefits.

    20. The Stranger: Boeing Screws Gays

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Just weeks after Washington State voters decisively approved marriage equality, the Boeing Company told union negotiators that it intends to deny pension survivor benefits to same-sex married couples.

      Boeing Screws Gays by Dominic Holden - Seattle News - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper

      Boeing Screws Gays - The Backlash Against Boeing for Its Plan to Deny Equal Benefits to Gay Employees - The Stranger covers Seattle and National News and Politics with a voice you can't find anywhere else. Breaking news, investigations, neighborhood coverage, and Slog, Seattle's most popular blog.

    21. Reached 750 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Irene Shapiro CASATRO VALLEY, CA
      • 9 months ago

      Cuz I have sooo many lesbian friends

    • Georgia Roy LCEY, WA
      • 9 months ago

      Equal rights for all

    • Ashley Smith SKOKIE, IL
      • 11 months ago

      Because the death of a loved one is tragic enough in itself without having to worry about finances. The last thing I would ever wish on someone who is grieving and trying to heal is for them to have to worry about how they are going to pay the bills. Also, as a Chicagoan and this being a Chicago based company, I especially support this petition.

    • Joyce Lovejoy NEW BOSTON, NH
      • about 1 year ago

      justice for all

      • about 1 year ago



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