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In the wake of Washington passing marriage equality comes this news that in the eyes of Boeing Company, of aircraft and aerospace fame, some marriages in the Evergreen State may be more equal than other marriages. Dominic Holden at the Seattle SLOG is reporting that a source involved in union negotiations with Boeing reported the company had taken a hardline position that surviving spouses of same-sex couples would not be able to access to survivor pension benefits of an employee.
Representing 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers, Ray Goforth is executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001. He was sitting at the negotiation table today—as part of ongoing talks over retirement benefits—and says the company's position "says to employees that they can be discriminated against based on who they are."
Not a sticking point for opposite-sex couples. If you've chosen the "correct" type of spouse, Boeing is happy to see that your surviving spouse and any children are well-cared for after your untimely passing.

Boeing is headquartered in Illinois but has a substantial workforce in Washington, nearly 83,000 according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Boeing representatives told him that pensions are governed by federal law, which doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, thereby trumping the state law on the matter.
This position is, of course, total and absolute, unmitigated bullshit. I won't offer an opinion that if true, the Boeing company is shockingly ignorant or just lying.

The Defense of Marriage Act is silent on corporate policies affecting specifically and only the federal government's recognition of of marriage. There are noI can't imagine what other applicable laws there might be. A company can create any pension conveyance policy they wish, this is not an area where "big government" is telling job creators what they should be doing. Hundreds or more companies across the country already have such policies. They certainly aren't being subpoenaed by AG Holder to explain themselves.

[Update: The question of ERISA has been raised. Over my pay grade. It is also noted Boeing has a good history on LGBT rights, including a diversity recognition from Human Rights Campaign in 2009 (make of that what you will).]

Now, before someone says "boycott," that's silly and doomed. It is possible that spreading the word might motivate LGBT talent to find themselves a first class employer. Competition for top talent is the main reason most of the Fortune 500 cite as to why they have non-discrimination policies. And I imagine in the aerospace industry there's a stiff competition for top talent.

Boeing is already doing a little (not terribly convincing) damage control (SLOG's emphasis):

Doug Alder, a spokesman for the aerospace giant, says that "any assertion that Boeing discriminates is blatantly false and, quite frankly, offensive." Late this afternoon, Boeing issued a statement to its employees saying it will assess the impacts of Referendum 74 on company policy. "Boeing is taking a closer look at how R-74 might impact company policies once it takes effect in December," the statement said.

Asked directly, however, if Boeing did in fact refuse these benefits at the negotiating table today, Alder evaded the question. "Nothing is ever final in negotiations until they're over," Alder told me. "What we said today is that [these pension benefits] are not currently addressed in the contract."

But speaking for the union, Goforth says Boeing was unequivocal today. "They were clear in negotiations—they were quite firm—that they weren't required to honor Washington State state law on this matter. They said they weren't going to."

Um.

Why are we even having this conversation?

I'd point the Boeing company to the Human Rights law in Washington state. I hope before they're done with their effort to "assess the impacts of Referendum 74 on company policy" and make their final offer on the negotiating table, Boeing realizes that the two-tiered compensation system they are said to be considering is almost certainly illegal under Washington state law which covers sexual orientation and gender identity (emphasis mine):

An EMPLOYER may not: (1) refuse to hire a person, (2) discharge or bar a person from a job, (3) discriminate in compensation or other terms or conditions of employment, (4) print, circulate, or use any discriminatory statement, advertisement, publication, job application form, or make any inquiry in connection with prospective employment that is discriminatory.
So ... that's a handy piece of information to have next time negotiators come to the table, in my opinion. "We'd love to sign this contract, but it's illegal, you know?"

That this attitude exists is why President Obama needs to issue an executive order requiring LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies to qualify for federal taxpayer-funded contracts.

Boeing would then be faced with the prospect of moving forward with a discriminatory policy and giving up their lucrative billions of dollars in tax-payer contracts.

Wanna guess which they'd pick: money or discrimination?

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:51 PM PST.

Also republished by Angry Gays, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, and LGBT Kos Community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This (5+ / 0-)
    "What we said today is that [these pension benefits] are not currently addressed in the contract."
    is a confirmation.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:55:51 PM PST

    •  What's to address? (5+ / 0-)

      Whether they want to write a contract that is illegal in WA state?

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:59:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Presumably the contract is to be construed (4+ / 0-)

        under Federal labor law. But there must be a gap-filler. Washington law? Illinois Law? Delaware Law? New York law? Those are the most likely.

        Are Illinois, New York, or Delaware prepared to say that same sex marriages performed in Washington state (or elsewhere) are invalid?

        Boeing needs to back off completely. Now.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:02:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ERISA (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grover

          generally preempts state law regarding retirement plans, so there is likely no gap filling needed.

          "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

          by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:37:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Is Washington State's marriage law (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Scott Wooledge, chipoliwog, sfbob

            preempted by DOMA via ERISA?

            Because really, that's what you will have to argue.

            I welcome this fight, because your position is ridiculous on its face. You assign meaning to DOMA that even its backers never gave it.

            Ok, so I read the polls.

            by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:45:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OIL GUY, grover

              ERISA preempts state law and DOMA provides a definition of marriage that precludes recognition of same-sex marriages for federal purposes.  That presumably is Boeing's argument.

              It's not my position;  I am merely trying to inform you about something that you are apparently wholly ignorant of.

              "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

              by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:56:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ok, I'm going to take the unusual step (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sfbob

                of backtracking. It might actually be that ERISA's preemption is so comprehensive as to do what you say it does:

                Second, respondents emphasize that the Washington statute involves both family law and probate law, areas of traditional state regulation. There is indeed a presumption against pre-emption in areas of traditional state regulation such as family law. See, e.g., Hisquierdo v. Hisquierdo, 439 U.S. 572, 581 (1979). But that presumption can be overcome where, as here, Congress has made clear its desire for pre-emption. Accordingly, we have not hesitated to find state family law pre-empted when it conflicts with ERISA or relates to ERISA plans. See, e.g., Boggs v. Boggs, 520 U.S. 833 (1997) (holding that ERISA pre-empts a state community property law permitting the testamentary transfer of an interest in a spouse’s pension plan benefits).

                    Finally, respondents argue that if ERISA pre-empts this statute, then it also must pre-empt the various state statutes providing that a murdering heir is not entitled to receive property as a result of the killing. See, e.g., Cal. Prob. Code Ann. §§250—259 (West 1991 and Supp. 2000); 755 Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 755, §5/2—6 (1999). In the ERISA context, these “slayer” statutes could revoke the beneficiary status of someone who murdered a plan participant. Those statutes are not before us, so we do not decide the issue. We note, however, that the principle underlying the statutes–which have been adopted by nearly every State–is well established in the law and has a long historical pedigree predating ERISA. See, e.g., Riggs v. Palmer, 115 N. Y. 506, 22 N. E. 188 (1889). And because the statutes are more or less uniform nationwide, their interference with the aims of ERISA is at least debatable.

                So, does ERISA preempt the marriage law of state insofar as they do not have "long historical pedigree predating ERISA?" Frankly, I doubt it, and more importantly, I don't think Boeing will want to argue it, but it's at least possible that it does.

                So my fallback is this: to the extent ERISA attempts to do that, it unconstitutionally discriminates against gays and lesbians who are married (and also interferes with their fundamental right to marry).

                Ok, so I read the polls.

                by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:13:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Actually (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Scott Wooledge, ColoTim, sfbob, PeterHug

              I suppose there could be an interesting court case out of this if an employer wanted to not recognize WA marriages for benefit purposes and was sued by the WA equivalent of the EEOC. Clearly DOMA and ERISA don't prevent employers from making any provisions they want to provide for same-sex married couples or same-sex domestic couples.

              Could they be construed to pre-empt state non-discrimination laws in this regard? I'll leave that to the Con Law experts to sort out.

              •  It might be that they do, terrifyingly (0+ / 0-)

                I don't think a court will likely go for that, but. . .

                Ok, so I read the polls.

                by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:20:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  At this point (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ColoTim, sfbob, PeterHug

                if the benefit were an ERISA-covered benefit, the courts might well hold that Washington's non-discrimination law is pre-empted by ERISA.  However, a well-crafted complaint would probably also allege that DOMA is unconstitutional, and thus attempt to clear the way to apply Washington's definition of marriage to ERISA plans.

                "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:26:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Which might case aneurisms in the social (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jayden, sfbob

                  conservatives, as the fiscal consefvstives just try to save some money:  that whole bad cases make bad law thing.

                  Situations like this are incredibly unfair to the people involved. But the corporations and political players just paint themselves into even tighter corners as time goes on. It really sucks being on the wrong side of history.

                  My guess is that some very influential convervatives will tap the Boeing folks on the shoulder and tell them it's not worth putting all of DOMA in play for perhaps a few employees here and there in WA.

                  © grover


                  So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

                  by grover on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 02:18:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  By the way (0+ / 0-)

              I think that preempting state marriage laws for federal purposes was exactly what the DOMA backers had in mind, just as it prevents the IRS from recognizing same-sex marriages.

              "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

              by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:09:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Under your reading of section 3(a) of DOMA (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Scott Wooledge, sfbob

                it seems possible that an ERISA covered agreement could possibly not even include same sex couples in its definition of marriage.

                So to what extent does DOMA, by way of ERISA, create mandatory terms in a private contract like this?

                Seems like an interesting law review article.

                Ok, so I read the polls.

                by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:19:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It doesn't (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  grover, sfbob

                  Boeing and the union can probably agree to the coverage--in fact, I think Boeing already provides benefits to same-sex spouses of salaried employees--and I don't think DOMA reaches it.

                  "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                  by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:32:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hypo: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sfbob

                    The contract explicitly imports Washington State's marriage law. What if a same sex surviving spouse bring suit in Federal court? The iron-clad strength of ERISA's preemption clause would seem to potentially cause a problem.

                    This is above my pay grade (and beyond the research I've done), but I think it's a pretty good illustration of why DOMA is so outrageous.

                    Ok, so I read the polls.

                    by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:40:30 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Boeing allows employess (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sfbob

                    to register their same-spouses for COBRA coverage.

                    I've been searching around and not seeing it explicitly that they cover partners, but I'm guessing they do, as they let them enroll in employee assistance programs and health programs, and HRC gave them awards.

                    Overall, seem like a good track record on diversity.

                    Which is not to say I think it's any better that they're just nickel and diming the LGBT community for the sake of money and not animus. The end result is the same: discriminatory policy and compensation.

                    Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

                    by Scott Wooledge on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 10:05:09 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  IANAL but I rather think that it would (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Scott Wooledge

                      be possible to craft a union contract that had the effect of preserving benefits for survivors of a same-sex marriage without ever getting into a conflict with ERISA or DOMA.  Perhaps one could just have the company commit to paying the equivalent of whatever would have been to amount, out of another account.

                      I rather expect that the money involved isn't likely to be significant to Boeing in the larger scheme of things - this may be routine gamesmanship in a contract negotiation, it could be that the Boeing lawyers honestly think that they have no choice given the precise wording of the laws involve, or it could be Boeing being a jerk.  I think that which of these is the case will become apparent over time.

                      And I will personally commit, that until this is resolved in favor of equality, I will NOT buy even a single Boeing jet!

                      :)

                      •  We do see end-run arounds (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        PeterHug

                        on other issues. DOMA prevents same-sex couples from filing joint tax returns and from paying for benefits like health-insurance out of pre-tax wages, creating economic disparities between same-sex couples and equally situated opposite sex coupled employees.

                        Companies like Google, Barclays and others have fixed that by paying their same-sex couples the difference, so their take home pay is the same.

                        It seems to me, if a company has the desire to create an equitable work environment they are able, their hands are not tied, particularly one of Boeing's means.

                        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

                        by Scott Wooledge on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:44:13 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

    •  The followup question is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge

      whether it is Boeing's position that interracial marriages are "addressed" in the contract.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:59:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some right-wing wacko in just the wrong (8+ / 0-)

    place in the Boeing management structure?

    Seems like this should be a no-brainer for a technology firm operating in Washington State.

  •  Chick-Fil-A would pick discrimination in a second. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, JeffW, skrekk

    But Federal Marshals would be more effective, I think.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:08:42 PM PST

  •  This is a company that moved its headquarters (10+ / 0-)

    to Chicago a few years back. As far as this issue is concerned, according to Money 6/27/20120

    More than a decade ago, the last place one may have expected to find acceptance of the LGBTQ community would have been inside an aerospace and defence corporation. That's why Boeing (BA.N) made headlines in 1999 for being an early adopter of same-sex domestic partner benefits for employees.

    [snip]

    Boeing supported a 2009 referendum on a domestic-partnership law approved by the state legislature. Other Pacific Northwest companies, including Microsoft (MSFT.O), Starbucks (SBUX.O), Nike (NKE.N) and RealNetworks (RNWK.O), were quick to join Boeing in a corporate coalition to advance the cause. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)

    And the coalition went back into action for Referendum 74.  This reaction NOW is unfathomable. I'm prepared to look at it as a trial balloon during the negotiation process, and that the contract will treat all marriages the same.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:13:57 PM PST

  •  Could it be that there is some interpretation of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge

    this

    ERISA also guarantees payment of certain benefits through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federally chartered corporation, if a defined plan is terminated.
    http://www.dol.gov/...

    that is making Boeing balk?

  •  I suspect that the issue is that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Argyrios, grover

    ERISA, the federal statute governing retirement plans, preempts state law regarding retirement plans in most situations.  Applying DOMA and ERISA in combination arguably means that, under ERISA, federal law does not require a retirement plan subject to ERISA to treat same-sex spouses equally.

    Thus, because ERISA preempts Washington's statute, Boeing is not required to cover same-sex spouses, although the union and Boeing can contract for such coverage in the future.  The reality of union contract negotiations is that Boeing is not going to concede anything.

    "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

    by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:34:38 PM PST

    •  "suspect" "could be" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover

      I guess we're left to guess and speculate until Boeing chooses to be more clear in their public communications.

      If your suspicions are right, maybe they could clarify in a press conference where they condemn DOMA/ERISA as being an unhelpful gov't regulation intruding on their business and the free market?

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:17:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't say they cant (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover, jayden

        it might say they don't have to.  I think that Boeing actually provides benefits to same-sex spouses of salaried employees, so it is not a matter of Boeing being homophobic.  Rather, it's a contract negotiation--and whatever the law doesn't require, the union and management will fight over.

        "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

        by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:36:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  As a person collecting a Boeing pension myself (6+ / 0-)

    this is very disappointing.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 08:35:22 PM PST

    •  I collect one too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, jayden, kyril, Lefty Coaster

      I think it's just a negotiation ploy. Nothing more, nothing less. Right now I think there is nothing to see here folks. Lets see what the final contract says. I've got $10.000.00 dollars that says they cover same sex couples when all is said and done. Just kidding about the 10 G's. Little Rmoney humor there.

  •  On June, 15, 2013, I'm going to be married. (8+ / 0-)

    To another man. In an Episcopal Cathedral in Maine.

    On April 15, 2014, I am going to become a tax protester. I am going to file jointly, as married.

    Repeal DOMA NOW, recognize our marriage rights!

  •  this is not something we can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, kyril

    do anything about. You can't boycott Boeing, certainly not if you are a consumer. I guess if you are really committed you can only book yourself on flights with non-Boeing aircraft, and hope that thousands of others do the same, and that the airlines notice this, and order fewer Boeing jets next time. But that is just not a realistic scenario, let's face it. It is the employees of Boeing that have the opportunity to get the company to change the policy, by letting them know this makes the employees unhappy.

  •  Seems as if DOMA is the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk

    problem, from the little reading I've done. Whether it is the specific problem in this case or not, It needs to go yesterday.

    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

    by AaronInSanDiego on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 10:21:39 PM PST

  •  Wouldn't say that Boeing's pension plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge

    Leaves any survivors "well cared for." At least not anymore. Maybe for those who retired 20 years ago...

    But that aside, not covering same sex couples is criminal.

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 11:01:08 PM PST

    •  shigeru - it's not criminal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, shigeru

      If Washington state law is clear on this issue, and if Washington state law, rather than federal law, is determined to be dominate on this the contract will be modified through a civil litigation process. There are no criminal statutes in play here, these are all civil matters.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 01:26:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  First of all, all dollars are public. U.S (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, Scott Wooledge

    currency is issued on behalf of U.S. citizens by our agents of government. Categorizing dollars according to a particular temporary use just muddies the issue. They are all official IOUs and we guarantee they will be honored.

    Secondly, we need to shuck the verbiage being employed by authoritarians. Compensation for labor is not a benefit, at least not in a society where compensation for labor and honoring obligations are the norm. Children and slaves get boons or benefits -- rewards for being compliant. Free persons are entitled to be compensated for any services they perform.

    Trying to get something for nothing may well be a remnant from the time when some people were prevented from getting sustenance for themselves, unless and until they complied with some "superior's" directives. Indeed, the widely accepted "no free lunch" suggests as much. That the lack of access to sustenance conflicts with our supposed commitment to the right to life is a puzzlement, unless we conclude that the right to life is an aspiration that has yet to be realized for whole persons. The right to life only applies to human cells and then only if they have been implanted in a host.  All other forms of life are disposable, as man decides.

    Something from nothing. That may be the core expression of human hubris. Or it may just be the attitude of people who aren't prepared to share; for whom every donation feels like an extraction because they are bereft of the generosity gene.
    It's not altruism that's missing; it's generosity.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 03:56:52 AM PST

  •  Rob McKenna And NOM Must Be Advising (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge

    Boeing.

    They lost but are very much alive continuing their life's goal of evil.

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 06:08:39 AM PST

  •  One need look at contracts in states that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, sfbob, Ahianne

    do not discriminate on marriage benefits.  In Mass, companies offering spousal benefits for health insurance cannot discriminate based on the sex of the spouse.  

    Federal law does not allow that benefit to be given pre-tax to same sex couples as it does to opposite sex couples, but the benefit must be given without regard to the sex of the spouse.  This is where DOMA comes into play.  Which is why my husband's pay is taxed for my health insurance coverage.

    I suspect (also outside my pay grade) that pension benefits can be given to surviving spouse regardless of sex, but there may be a tax penalty.  The question at negotiations may be who pays that penalty, not about the transfer of the pension to a defined survivor.  

    Negotiations are all about money, rarely about social issues.  If Boeing felt it made no difference to their pocket, I suspect this would be an easy agreement.  It is not clear what the sticking issue is about money.  If I were at the table, I would split the difference between the union and management and then work like heck to get rid of DOMA.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 08:36:03 AM PST

  •  Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits involves ERISA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob

    and Boeing is certainly aware of the status of that case.   Their position in contract negotiations isn't at all surprising given that the case has been suspended pending SCOTUS action on DOMA.
    http://www.americanbar.org/...
    http://www.prop8trialtracker.com/...

  •  Please be careful with this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, skrekk, Scott Wooledge

    1) As you acknowledged in the diary, Boeing has a great record on LGBT issues. They're not quite as far out front in a leadership role as the Puget Sound's other big names (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Starbucks) but they treat us well.

    2) Boeing is a leader in providing good union jobs, especially to veterans. We need them. A huge fraction of Puget Sound jobs depend on Boeing directly or indirectly. The area didn't get hit as hard by the recession as a lot of other places did, but that's all thanks to Microsoft/Google/Amazon/Boeing/Starbucks and the military bases. Our recovery is fragile and depends heavily on the big 5.

    Nothing good can come out of making this a national PR issue at this point. Hold off and see if they double down publicly on it. Until then, let the union and the lawyers handle it. That's what they're there for. The suits will try to save money in stupid and possibly-illegal places, the union will hold them off, and the lawyers will do their research and eventually advise the suits to back down.

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:40:11 AM PST

    •  Points taken... (0+ / 0-)

      Except this: "Nothing good can come out of making this a national PR issue at this point."

      PR is the only avenue to influencing continued negotiations on this contract. If they think they can save a few pennies by cutting out benefits to same-sex couples, they just might forward and do that.

      If they think the few pennies they save are not worth the bad press it generates, they just might fold next time they come to the negotiating table.

      In addition to the fact that this story illustrates that even post-marriage equality law, inequality can and does continue.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:50:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And I'd add... (0+ / 0-)
      Until then, let the union and the lawyers handle it.
      If the union negotiators did not want publicity on this story, they made a very bad choice being quoted by name, on the record, to the SLOG.

      I'm not reporting from a bug I placed in the negotiating room, or rumors I heard in a gay bar bathroom.

      I'm quoting on the record statements made to a major media outlet.

      If union negotiators wanted to handle this alone, away from a spotlight, they messed up big time.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:54:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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