SPEEA wins 14-year fight for EAFB / Palmdale employees Boeing to pay $47 million in "make whole" arbitration award
PALMDALE, CA – After a 13-year battle, 484 current and former employees of The Boeing Company are receiving nearly $47 million in wages and benefits they were denied because the aerospace giant refused to recognize employees at Edwards Air Force Base and in Palmdale were covered by the SPEEA Professional and Technical unit contracts.
“Boeing spent more than a decade and countless dollars trying to break its contracts with these employees,” said Rich Plunkett, SPEEA director of strategic development who worked the issue since its start. “It’s disappointing it took so long, but the employees prevailed.”
The 251 current and 233 former employees learn this month what is included in their individual awards granted by an arbitrator’s ruling in January. Awards are based on, among many factors, the length of employment at the facilities. The majority will receive lump sum payments from a few dollars to in excess of $400,000. Payments must be made by May 21. Many current employees have already received salary increases of up to $33,000 annually. For the small number of employees covered by the award who are deceased, payments go to their heirs.
The fight with the aerospace giant started with a grievance SPEEA filed in 2001 contesting Boeing’s denial of union-representation to a handful of employees working at Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base in jobs covered by the union’s contracts. The company denied the grievance and then refused arbitration. With Boeing contesting and appealing every decision, the issue wound through district court, the regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and eventually to the national NLRB. Finally, the only avenue remaining was to let an arbitrator decide.
During the long fight, Boeing continued hiring and transferring employees in and out of the Southern California facilities, all the time refusing to recognize the engineers and technical workers were covered by the union contracts.
Like every ruling before, the arbitrator said Boeing was wrongly denying its workers the better wages and benefits guaranteed by the SPEEA Professional and Technical collective bargaining agreements.
SPEEA’s Rich Plunkett, left, and Matt Kempf hold more than 400 of the “make whole” awards Boeing was ordered to pay employees by an arbitrator's ruling. Each sheet represents an award of at
The arbitrator’s final ruling and award, issued in January, requires Boeing to “make whole” the employees for everything they should have received under the union contracts and then include 10% simple interest.
“It’s good to see the interest included because these awards represent money that in some cases should have been spread out to the employees over the past 14 years,” said Matthew Kempf, CFP(r), SPEEA benefits director.
The current and former workers are now located around the country. Meetings are planned at a number of locations to explain the award to recipients.
Contact your legislator Members call on legislature to preserve Washington jobs!
Angered by last week’s announcement that The Boeing Company is shifting even more work out of Washington state, SPEEA members are calling their elected officials to rework the aerospace tax incentive package to ensure jobs are protected.
When the Washington Legislature approved the $8.7 billion aerospace tax incentive last year, they did so with the understanding Boeing planned to grow its Washington workforce. However, once passed, the company announced layoffs in Boeing Research and Technology (BR&T). Then, on April 10, Boeing announced plans to move Commercial Aviation Services (CAS) from the Puget Sound Region to Long Beach, California. The moves will result in more than 2,000 layoffs. Even the new factory will not bring jobs. Boeing is already testing the robotics it will use to create a largely automated production line.
These high-paying jobs support families, communities and the local economy. They also fuel the innovation for future aerospace work in Washington.
SPEEA members call on the governor and state legislature to act immediately to ensure our taxpayer dollars keep aerospace jobs in Washington state.
Use the link below to find contact information for your state lawmakers. Tell your senator and representative Washington workers and taxpayers deserve meaningful requirements in the $8.7 billion tax incentive package to create – not destroy – jobs in Washington!
Congratulations to the SPEEA-sponsored robotics teams who qualified to compete in the world championship in St. Louis. More than 50 teams competed April 10-12 in Portland (shown here) at the Northwest regional competition of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The Northwest Council provides grants for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). “What SPEEA does to contribute to this, it really makes a difference,” said Randy Wang,
a SPEEA member and mentor for Issaquah Robotics Society, one of the SPEEA-sponsored teams which qualified for the
St. Louis competition.
Seeking candidates for IFPTE VP vacancy
To fill an interim SPEEA vacancy on the IFPTE Executive Council, eligible members have until 5 p.m., Monday, May 19, to submit petitions and statements.
Eligibility - must be members in good standing for the preceding 24 months in any SPEEA bargaining unit
Candidates will have the opportunity to address the SPEEA Council (two-minute max per person) prior to a vote Friday, June 6, at the annual Council Convention.
The winner will be nominated for confirmation by the IFPTE Executive Council. The interim term will continue until the 2015 IFPTE triennial convention.
SPEEA donates, collects for Oso Disaster Fund
To reach out and support victims’ families, the community and relief efforts in the wake of the Oso mudslide, the SPEEA Executive Board donated $5,000 to the Red Cross Oso Disaster Fund. In addition to the cash donation, the Everett SPEEA Hall is serving as a drop off point for donations. The Red Cross says non-perishable food items and gasoline gift cards are among the most needed items. Residents in the mountain community of Darrington must now drive an extra 60 to 90 minutes to detour around the slide which blocked Highway 530 at Oso.
Apply for interim Northwest VP vacancy
If you are interested and eligible to fill the Northwest region vice president vacancy on the SPEEA Executive Board,
the deadline to apply is noon, Monday, April 28.
The Northwest Council will vote to fill the vacancy May 8 at the monthly meeting.
· Eligibility - must be SPEEA members in good standing for the preceding 24 months
Candidates will have the opportunity to address the Northwest Council (two-minute max per person) prior to the Council vote.
The position became available when Ryan Rule, former Northwest vice president, was elected president.
He took office March 26.
Apply for the STEM grant review committee
Interested in diving into the Northwest Council grant process? Apply for the grant review committee which studies all of the applications for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) grants.
This committee meets after the Aug. 15 grant application deadline to research, analyze and verify the applications as well as evaluate the merits of the requests. Based on that, the committee makes a recommendation to the Northwest Council, which votes on grant allocations.
To apply for the review committee, e-mail your name, contact information and school district where you live to email@example.com by
SPEEA issued the following press release today (Wednesday, March 26) in Wichita.
Former employees charge Spirit AeroSystems with
laying off sicker and older workers in 2013
From left, Diane King, attorney for the employees, Gail Haug, former Spirit employee, Bob Brewer, SPEEA Midwest Director and Rhonda Greer,
SPEEA Midwest Region Secretary address reporters at a press conference Wednesday at the SPEEA Midwest office.
Note - SPEEA is assisting the employees, it is not SPEEA making the charges. Also, the attorney is not a SPEEA attorney, she is the attorney
for the employees.
Reuters - Ex-Spirit Aero staff claim their high health costs
led to layoffs
WICHITA, KS – Federal charges of discrimination were filed against Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. today alleging the company terminated hundreds of employees in 2013 because they were older and either they or a family member had a costly medical condition the newly self-insured aerospace company wanted to cut.
Filed today with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the charges came from 10 former employees represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001. The union spent the past eight months assisting the employees’ investigation of Spirit’s actions and their terminations.
The employees are also filing complaints with the federal government’s Office of Civil Rights to seek an investigation into whether Spirit illegally disclosed their confidential medical information, or the confidential medical information of their family members. In addition to the named clients, the charges are extended to other impacted employees.
Each agency will now perform their own investigation into the terminations and the company’s actions. The charges and federal investigation could bring further action against the company or employees could file a lawsuit against Spirit.
The charges were the subject of a press conference today at SPEEA’s Midwest office. Participants included a number of the filing employees and their legal counsel.
“This type of discrimination using confidential medical information is something we did not want to believe a Wichita company would do, let alone do to its own employees,” said Bob Brewer, SPEEA Midwest Director. “But, the evidence is clear – Spirit targeted older employees and employees who had medical conditions that cost money the company did not want to spend.
These people are now at home, without a job or medical coverage and no way to get the treatment they, or a loved one desperately needs.”
Medical conditions in the group include spouses on organ donor transplant lists, children with serious and costly rare medical conditions and employees with cancer and other serious medical issues of their own.
Spirit abruptly terminated 221 SPEEA-represented engineers, technical workers and other professionals on July 25. In all, the company terminated 360 employees that day. All were abruptly called into meetings with management, told they were being terminated and then escorted off the property. Most were not allowed to return to their work stations to retrieve personal property. The terminations included employees who for years were rated as top performers. In recent months, Spirit held a job fair and a “hiring blitz” to attract new employees. None of the laid off employees were asked to return to work.
Just three weeks before the terminations, Spirit changed its medical coverage for employees and families from an underwritten, provider form of medical insurance to a self-funded insurance program. The result of the change is that every dollar not paid out in medical claims is a dollar that remains in Spirit’s corporate bank account.
SPEEA represents 2,450 employees at Spirit in Kansas. Overall the union represents 24,400 employees in Washington, Kansas, Oregon, Utah, California and Florida. SPEEA is affiliated with the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).
Retention appeal process
If you have questions about requesting a retention appeal, check out the process (link). Managers are distributing the notices by March 25. An appeal request (with supporting documentation) must be filed with SPEEA within 30 days of receiving your rating.
Members are reminded to pay particular attention and note the explanation and rationale their manager gives for their rating. The explanation is an important part of the retention process and any subsequent appeal.
Exercise your right to representation during meetings
WICHITA, Kan. – With management at Spirit AeroSystems starting a new round of one-on-one meetings and employee layoffs, SPEEA reminds our represented employees to exercise their right to have a Council Representative or other union official present during meetings where discipline may be discussed. This includes meetings that could result in layoff.
Members should also seek assistance before having any discussions with Spirit management or human resources (HR) if management approaches them with a Severance/Waiver Agreement.
SPEEA Council Representatives are trained to assist employees during these meetings. The training is updated annually.
If you have questions or cannot locate a Council Representative and need immediate representation at a meeting with management, call the SPEEA Wichita office at 682-0262.
Contract benefit Resume and job-search workshops
available at Ed Wells Partnership
Ed Wells Partnership (EWP) recently added a number of resume and job-search workshops to its list of offerings. The workshops provide information about how to be successful searching for new jobs within Boeing. A list of the new workshops is available on the Ed Wells Partnership page of our website.