A federal judge has ruled a trial is necessary to decide claims brought in a lawsuit by two unions arising from Boeing’s 2005 sale of its commercial aircraft operations in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The lawsuit was brought by the International Association of Machinists and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.
In a 49-page decision Dec. 11, U.S. District Judge Monti Belot rejected requests by both sides for summary judgment, although he did side with Boeing on some minor claims.
Among issues to be decided is the meaning of “layoffs” as it relates to early retirement and retiree health care benefits stemming from the sale. Belot ruled that the question of whether Boeing breached its collective bargaining agreements should be decided through trial.
The unions seek to restore ‘bridge benefits’ which provided early retirement medical and pension benefits for employees age 49 to 55 with 10 years of Boeing service. Boeing denied the benefits to hundreds of union-represented employees as a result of the sale.
“This was an appalling breach of trust,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “We look forward to the court ordering Boeing to honor the commitments it made to employees.” AP