Don’t Let Boeing Deny Pension Benefits to Same-Sex Couples

Target: W. James McNerney, Jr., chairman, president, and CEO of The Boeing Company

Goal: Urge Boeing to award pension benefits to legally married same-sex couples in Washington State

The good news: in Washington State, voters recently voted a marriage equality law (R-74)  into effect. The bad news: because of a federal loophole, Boeing has stated “that it intends to deny pension survivor benefits to same-sex married couples.” Tell Boeing not to use a technicality to ignore the rights of its employees. Demand that Boeing offer married same-sex couples the same benefits packages as married heterosexual couples.

Because Boeing’s  “pension benefits are governed by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA),” the company has maintained throughout union negotiations that it does not intend to extend the pension benefits to include same-sex couples. The declaration was a disappointing one for union representative Ray Golforth, who has long sought benefits for Boeing employees in same-sex unions. After Washington’s marriage equality act passed, Golforth amended the unions proposal to cover only legally married same-sex couples, a move that would put same sex couples on equal footing with married heterosexual couples. Boeing, however, did not approve of the proposal: “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,” Golforth said. “We were profoundly disappointed to see that they would use a loophole to engage in institutionalized discrimination.”

There is hope, however. After news of the negotiations leaked, Boeing began to backpedal, taking offense at the implication of discriminatory practices and promising in a statement to “[take] a closer look at how R-74 might impact company policies once it takes effect in December.” Faced with a public outcry, Boeing is reconsidering its stance. Help fight for equality for all workers. Urge Boeing to extend its pension benefits program to cover same-sex couples.


Dear Mr. McNerney,

The passage of a marriage equality act (R-74) in Washington State finally recognizes the right of same-sex couples to legally marry. So why is Boeing refusing to offer pension benefits to legally-married employees in same-sex unions?

Boeing is among the foremost companies in the United States, and has the opportunity to set an example for many other businesses within the industry. Although federal law does not require Boeing to offer benefits to employees in same-sex unions, there is no reason why Boeing should not offer them; not doing so indicates grave disrespect for the employees who are partially responsible for Boeing’s success.

As R-74 goes into effect in December, take a stand for the employees who work hard for Boeing and for their families. Set an example of company policies built on respect, equality, and cooperation. Extend pension benefits to cover all married employees, gay or straight.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fisher via Viewology.Net

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