Watch CBSN Live

Boeing Declares Strike Stalemate

The Boeing Co. has notified the union representing striking engineers and technical workers that it believes the two sides are an impasse in labor talks and may try to impose an agreement.

Boeing spokesman Peter Conte confirmed Wednesday day that the company sent the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace a letter regarding the lack of moment on the talks.

"We believe we are at an impasse," Conte said. "We are awaiting a response from the union before we take any further steps."

"We believe that we have irreconcilable issues and are deadlocked. We are awaiting a response from the union before we take any further steps," Conte added.

Conte said those steps could include imposing part or all of its latest contract offer, which the union rejected during mediated talks over the weekend, or imposing part or all of the previous contract, which lapsed at year's end.

For its part, the union said that it was far too soon to declare an impasse, and claimed Boeing was not negotiating in good faith.

"We believe this means that the company never intended to negotiate in the first place," Charles Bofferding, SPEEA's executive director, said.

Conte would not comment on what moves the company may make after receiving a response. It has the option of formally declaring an impasse, after which it can decide to impose a contract on the workers.

Bofferding said the union will file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of failing to bargain in good faith.

"They've decided to declare an impasse when we're not even close to that stage yet," Bofferding said. "I think they'll find that our workers won't stand for this."

SPEEA represents 22,600 engineers and technical workers in Washington, California and Kansas. Workers walked out on Feb. 9 after the first round formal negotiations with federal mediators fell apart. About 17,000 remain on strike.

The two sides met again late last week with C. Richard Barnes, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, but the talks once again collapsed over the weekend. Both sides accused each other of being inflexible.

"We have made all the movement we're going to make," Conte said. ``We feel that the union's demands have only increased."

View CBS News In