Edwards/Palmdale information

January 28, 2014
Award of the Arbitrator

With the official “Award of the Arbitrator” in hand, the process of applying the methodology to determine individual “make whole” awards for the 500-plus impacted current and former employees is in progress. 
The arbitrator ruled against SPEEA in our attempt to obtain additional funds to account for the increased tax obligation associated with a lump sum award as opposed to the same amount spread over a number of years. He also ruled that Boeing is responsible for the union Agency Fee obligations and those amounts shall not be deducted from the amounts owed individuals.
The award indicates the historical periods of coverage for individuals, along with factors to be covered in rendering the actual awards. Salary increases, promotions, bonuses, pension and 401(k) contributions, layoffs and even overtime are addressed. The process for calculating totals due to individuals is underway and being overseen by both Boeing and SPEEA. 
The company has 120 days from the Award of the Arbitrator, dated Jan. 21, to issue the awards.

January 6, 2014
Arbitrator to issue award determination by end of month

With legal briefs from the November hearing filed, SPEEA and The Boeing Company are hopeful for a final decision by end of this month.
This formal ruling from the arbitrator will outline the methodology for calculating the “make whole” awards for the 600-plus current and former employees denied the benefits of union representation at the Edwards/Palmdale facilities. These calculations will begin immediately upon receiving the ruling.
SPEEA had requested Boeing be ready to distribute all individual employee “make whole” awards within 60 days of the arbitrator’s ruling. However, company representatives recently stated they may need up to 120 days. While disappointing, with conversations remaining productive we expect individual awards to be issued within the time frame.

November 8, 2013
Hearing set for TuesdayWednesday on “make whole” awards

Months of analysis and preliminary meetings between SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001 and The Boeing Company greatly reduced the number of items needing a decision by the arbitrator at next week’s hearing.

Scheduled for two days, the hearing will resolve remaining issues and finalize the methodology used to determine the length of time each employee was denied representation and the factors used to determine the “make whole” awards.  The complicated calculations factor in differences in wage rates, promotions, retirement, medical benefits and a number of other factors.

Preliminary talks with the company have been productive and should provide a good foundation for the hearing.

This has been a long and arduous process, but progress is being made. Watch for an update next week after the hearing.

For questions, contact

August 27, 2013
Work continues on awards, hearing scheduled
Work continues with The Boeing Company to determine the methodology for the “make whole” awards for engineers and technical workers denied representation by SPEEA, IFPTE Local 2001. Fortunately, we have been able to agree on many points.  Unfortunately, the process is taking much longer than expected.

As part of the process, a hearing is scheduled with the arbitrator on Nov. 11 and 12. At the hearing, we will affirm the areas of agreement and decide the remaining disputed points. The arbitrator has retired, making scheduling difficult. However, he agreed to continue to adjudicate our grievance and avoid bringing in a new arbitrator who would not be familiar with our case.
Presently, there are 600-plus current and former employees participating in the make-whole calculations.  The exact number is still in dispute as we have yet to reach agreement on all the circumstances that would lead to what is known as a “loss of heritage” status.  That is, when an individual at EAFB, prior to the Merger/Acquisition activities (McDonnell Douglas/Rockwell), working for one of the non-Boeing companies, should have been recognized as a represented employee.  
While we have tentatively agreed to much of the methodology to calculate awards, all points are contingent on a final agreement. Hence, communicating details of the methodology at this point is premature.  We have enlisted the assistance of an actuarial firm to assist in some of the analysis and continue to review the situation with our attorneys.

While the calculation and distribution of awards is taking longer than anticipated, we are making progress and interest continues to accrue on the awards to employees.
We will continue to keep you apprised as developments occur.  You can help us in this regard by signing up on our website for updates.  For questions, contact us at

June 29, 2013
Special meeting for engineers and technical workers

We continue to work on the ‘make whole’ settlement from The Boeing Company for employees denied representation by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001.

After months of work, we recently reached a tentative agreement with Boeing on methodology to use for calculating employee ‘make whole’ awards in pension and wages. We are still waiting for data on overtime hours worked. Once the information is received, we can proceed with determining methodology for that portion of the employee awards.

Discussions continue with the company to determine the specific periods of time employees were impacted. We are hopeful this exercise, which will take several days, can be scheduled in the coming weeks.

We will continue to keep you apprised as developments occur.  You can help us in this regard by signing up on our website for updates.  For questions, contact us at

December - 2012
Welcome engineers and technical workers to SPEEA!

As a result of the arbitrator’s decision and award, as of Jan. 1, 2013, you are covered by the SPEEA-represented benefits package.  Some of you have contacted our office asking for more information relative to the medical, dental, disability and life insurance options now available to you as a SPEEA-represented employee.  The attached presentation will answer many of those questions and assist you in the open enrollment process.  If you have additional questions, feel free to send them or call my number listed below. 


Thanks to those of you who have already turned in your membership applications.  Dues, presently $38.47 a month, are withheld from the first paycheck of each month.  Management has indicated that the first deduction will occur on the Jan. 3 paycheck.  Membership applications can be downloaded and mailed to our office. SPEEA Membership Application

SPEEA is presently negotiating new contracts with Boeing. You can stay informed about the work by signing up for the SPEEA Home Email.

We are working to schedule the next lunchtime meetings at EAFB and Palmdale after the holiday break. Ongoing negotiations with Boeing make setting a date now difficult. However, we hope to be able to announce a date in early January. Please provide suggestions on preferred locations and times (during non-work time and accommodating those on other than 5 x 8 first-shift). 

We are working hard to keep you apprised of developments as well our progress going forward.  We will continue to answer questions as they come in and are building a FAQ section on our website.  Feel free to drop me a line with your questions and/or comments to:

Rich Plunkett
Director of Strategic Development
SPEEA / IFPTE Local 2001

Office: 206-674-7366
Mobile: 206-255-5756

November 30, 2012
Negotiations updates available

With the date for your official switch to SPEEA representation on Dec. 14, we encourage you to stay informed about our current contract negotiations with The Boeing Company. These negotiations will determine the contracts for engineers and technical workers in the SPEEA Professional and Technical bargaining units.

Update for engineers and technical workers

Boeing and SPEEA representatives have been working to finalize the list of individuals covered by the SPEEA contracts.  Management will change their HR system to indicate your coverage under the contracts effective Friday, Dec. 14.  The “make whole” award calculation will still be calculated based upon when you SHOULD have become SPEEA represented.   

We will be scheduling lunchtime meetings at EAFB and Palmdale the week of Dec. 10 to answer questions and to conduct contract familiarization sessions.  Please provide us suggestions on preferred locations and times (during non-work time and accommodating those on other than 5x8 first-shift). 

In the meantime, we thought the following would be helpful and might spur some good questions.  The following points represent the prospective transition to SPEEA representation.  Again, we are still working on retrospective analysis. 


  • Employees can elect automatic dues deductions starting with the first paycheck (Jan. 3) of 2013..
  • We are working with management to assure participation in the retention rating process – performed at least annually.  The ratings serve to notify individuals where they stand relative to their peers.  The ratings are used if and when any reduction in force should occur to determine the order of layoff in any given skill. (reference: Article 8 of the appropriate contract)
  • You will accrue retirement credit under the Boeing Company Employee’s Retirement Plan (BCERP).  This includes those employees hired after January 1, 2009 who are currently without a defined benefit pension plan. 
  • All employees with a last hire date prior to January 1, 2007 are now covered by the early retirement medical plan (Reference Article 16.3 of either the Professional or Technical Unit contracts)
  • Long-term disability coverage is not employer paid.  Hence, we strongly encourage employees to enroll in the plan during the open enrollment (30 days from Dec.14).  Long-term coverage still covers the employee after Short-Term Disability coverage ends.  The SPEEA represented plan provides 60% of the employee’s pre-disability earnings tax free.  The non-represented plan provides 50% coverage taxed as ordinary income.  The SPEEA plan costs employees $0.267 per month for each $1,000 of covered compensation (e.g. $100,000 salary coverage costs $26.70 per month).
  • Members will be able to vote on the Company’s contract offer(s)
  • Any employee called into a discussion with management where the employee reasonably believes the discussion could lead to discipline is entitled to have a union representative present.
  • You now have access to the Ed Wells Partnership joint SPEEA/Boeing training program. The program gives  employees additional training opportunities including conference grants, BEN training as well as more traditional training opportunities (
  • Employees have a challenge process to obtain a Salaried Job Classification upgrade (SJC) (reference Article 22 of the appropriate Contract)
  • For engineers, overtime is no longer restricted by the Extended Work Week (EWW) provisions.  Overtime is still paid at time plus $6.50 but for all time worked in excess of 80 compensated hours in a pay period. 
  • For engineers, partial days of sick leave are now charged to non-industrial sick leave (non-ind) and will not deduct from your sick leave balance
  • For engineers: With management coordination, employees may use leave with pay [Personal Business (PERBUS)] for partial day absences due to reasons other than sick leave.

What doesn’t change:

  • You still have the same management reporting structure.
  • Holiday schedule
  • Salary increases are still determined based upon individual performance ratings and are conducted in the February/March time frame.  However, the SPEEA Contracts guarantee both the pool size available for employees as well as a minimum per individual.  Both of these are yet to be determined as we are still in the bargaining process.
  • Your medical coverage does not immediately change.  We are still working to determine the most appropriate method to convert employees to the SPEEA represented medical plans.
  • Your VIP contributions are the same; with the Company’s match in cash. (Until recently the match was in Boeing stock rather than cash for non-represented employees.)
  • The vacation accrual and award process remains the same.
  • Flexing of one’s time remains an option; however, management cannot force an employee to flex.
  • Short-term disability coverage

What remains to be determined:

  • How to handle time under the Pension Value Plan (PVP) relative to conversion to BCERP credit including the 85 pt plan for certain employees
November 6, 2012
SPEEA wins back pay and benefits for hundreds of Boeing
employees in California

Employees of The Boeing Company who worked in Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., are due back pay and benefits that could total in the millions of dollars, according to a federal arbitrator. The Nov. 1 ruling said the company for years wrongly denied the engineers and technical workers the better pay and benefits of employees represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001.

The ruling rejected every Boeing argument and culminates a near 12-year effort by SPEEA to reestablish union representation for the now more than 550 employees Boeing denied coverage under SPEEA Professional and Technical collective bargaining agreements going back to 1999.

“It’s ethically deplorable that Boeing disregarded the plain language of these contracts, imposed its own interpretation and denied these employees the pay and benefits they were entitled to,” said Rich Plunkett, SPEEA director of strategic development. “This is not a technical violation. It’s a violation that took money out of employee paychecks and benefits away from their families.”

The arbitrator ordered Boeing to “make whole” all engineering and technical employees who worked at the sites in job classifications represented by SPEEA since March 5, 2001. Stating: “Clearly, the employees who were wrongfully excluded from the professional and technical bargaining units suffered a loss due to the time value of money,” the arbitrator also ordered Boeing to pay each employee 10 percent interest on the back pay. Boeing must also pay SPEEA back dues for the affected employees and cover the cost of arbitration.
Since 1976, engineers and technical workers at the sites were recognized as being covered under the SPEEA Puget Sound Professional and Technical contracts. However, starting in 2000, SPEEA learned Boeing was listing and filling engineer and technical positions at Edwards Air Force Base and Boeing Palmdale as non-union positions. The company’s action resulted in employees receiving lower pay and reduced benefits than called for in the union contracts.

Taking action to remedy the issue, SPEEA filed a grievance against Boeing in March 2001. With Boeing fighting and appealing every step of the way, the issue resulted in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision for SPEEA in 2006. Boeing appealed that decision, bringing on a whole new series of actions and appeals which finally brought the issue to the federal arbitrator in May.

Over the years, union membership at Edwards Air Force Base and Palmdale steadily declined as workers transferred, retired or left Boeing. The arbitrator’s award includes employees hired before and after the grievance was filed.

The full Opinion and Award of the Arbitrator is available on the SPEEA website at:
SPEEA and Boeing are presently negotiating new contracts for 23,000 engineers and technical workers at facilities around Puget Sound, Portland, Utah and California. Union members rejected Boeing’s initial offer by 96 percent. Talks continue this week.

A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents 26,560 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, and Triumph Composite Systems, Inc. in Spokane, Wash.