Will Washington state-based aerospace and defense corporation The Boeing Company be providing pension benefits to same-sex couples now that gay marriage is now legal in the state.
The union representing 23,000 Boeing engineers and technical workers says Boeing will not but the company denies the claim.
Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace IFPTE Local 2001, says he was at the negotiating table this week (21 November) when the company made its position clear.
‘Their answer was that they had no intention of granting pension survivor benefits to legally married same-sex couples because they didn’t have to,’ Goforth tells TheStranger.com.
He said he was told by Boeing representatives that pensions are governed by federal law, which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, the new state law is trumped.
Goforth slammed the position saying it’s a message ‘to employees that they can be discriminated against based on who they are.’
Voters in Washington state approved the marriage equality bill R-74 earlier this month becoming the third US state to pass same-sex marriage by popular-vote with Maine and Maryland being the other two.
Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the aerospace giant ‘ is taking a closer look at how R-74 might impact company policies once it takes effect in December.’
Adler said any assertions that Boeing discriminates are ‘blatantly false and, quite frankly, offensive.’
But he did not confirm or deny that pension benefits for same-sex couples was addressed during negotiations this week.
Gay couples in Washington State will be able to officially marry from 9 of December.
Six other US states — New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont — and the District of Columbia already passed gay marriage bills.