Boeing: No Nerds, No Birds (a): To Strike or Not to Strike

7 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Patricia H. Werhane

Patricia H. Werhane

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Michael E. Gorman

University of Virginia - School of Engineering & Applied Science

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Mary Cummings

Duke University - Pratt School of Engineering

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Abstract

This series of six cases (labeled A through F, UVA-E-0233 through UVA-E-0238) presents the various dilemmas that arose in the spring of 2001 when engineers at the Seattle-based Boeing Company, unhappy with management decisions, contemplated and undertook a strike, the first "white-collar" work stoppage in the history of American business.

Excerpt

UVA-E-0233

BOEING: NO NERDS, NO BIRDS (A):

TO STRIKE OR NOT TO STRIKE

“Engineers shall not actively participate in strikes, picket lines, or other collective coercive action.” —NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers, Section III. e.

In February 2000, Charles Bofferding, the executive director of the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), had to make a landmark recommendation to Boeing SPEEA members. Representing all Boeing engineers and technicians, SPEEA had been in contract negotiations with Boeing for more than a year, and talks had reached an impasse. Union members had rejected the first two contract offers, the first overwhelmingly (98%); the second rejection was much narrower (51%). If Boeing SPEEA members chose to strike, the unprecedented decision would be the first time American engineers executed collective coercive action, which directly conflicted with the Code of Ethics of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

The History of Boeing

. . .

Keywords: benefits policy, bonuses, workplace management, ethical issues, labor unions, labor relations, managerial ethics

Suggested Citation

Werhane, Patricia H. and Gorman, Michael E. and Mead, Jenny and Cummings, Mary, Boeing: No Nerds, No Birds (a): To Strike or Not to Strike. Darden Case No. UVA-E-0233. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=908741

Patricia H. Werhane (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4840 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/werhane.htm

Michael E. Gorman

University of Virginia - School of Engineering & Applied Science ( email )

Box 400246
Charlottesville, VA 22904-0246
United States

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Mary Cummings

Duke University - Pratt School of Engineering

Durham, NC 27708
United States

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