As a former chair of both the SPEEA and Northwest Councils, Joel Funfar brings a unique perspective to the Executive Board.
“From what I learned as a Council Rep and what I learned from others, I hope to help make the union stronger,” he said.
Funfar, who joined SPEEA in 1991, started as an Area Rep, and then served as a co-site coordinator and picket captain at Plant II, Seattle, during the 40-day strike in 2000. He became a Council Rep for Plant II in 2000.
He served two terms as SPEEA Council Chair (2009 and 2011). He was also elected SPEEA Council secretary, Northwest Council chair and Northwest Council secretary.
Funfar, a lab tech in the EO&T engineering labs at Plant II, served on the Tech Negotiation Teams in 2008 and 2012. He’s also been involved in many other committees, including chair of the Legislative and Public Affairs (L&PA) and Organizational Planning.
In addition, Funfar is a SPEEA IFPTE vice president, a delegate to the county and state labor councils and King County Airport Roundtable.
Funfar received the Stephen Pezzini Helping Other People Excel (HOPE) award in 2009 for his work both with SPEEA and the community, including Aviation High School.
Born in Rapid City, S.D., his family moved to the Northwest in 1968. He attended Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., and lives in Enumclaw, Wash.
In his spare time, he enjoys music and car racing, as well as history – particularly labor and World War II.
Jimmie Mathis joined SPEEA shortly after starting at The Boeing Company in 1978. He was first elected as a SPEEA Council officer more than 20 years ago and has been elected to almost every Council office.
Mathis wanted to get involved in SPEEA to help support members. He believes in the power of the union to help improve working conditions and protect workers in the bargaining units from unjust discipline and harassment.
At Boeing, Mathis is a bearing engineer supporting commercial programs and many non-commercial programs. As chairman of the SAE Bearing Standards Group (ACBG), he supports standard parts for commercial, industrial and defense applications. He mentors employees in Boeing and other groups.
Mathis has worked in aluminum alloy development, providing new alloys used on the 757 and 767, as well as upgrading and automating test laboratories. He has also been a principle lead engineer for IT and computing groups in addition to specifying bearing applications and developing new bearings and alloys.
He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in metallurgical engineering and has a background in mining engineering.
Mathis also likes to be involved in SPEEA’s legislative activities in Washington state and Washington D.C. His outside interests include aviation design and flying, as well as back-country recreation.
Ryan Rule, a former Council Rep was elected to the Executive Board in 2008 and as SPEEA President in 2014.
Rule has good advice for members when it comes to SPEEA.
“Get involved! Whenever something doesn’t make sense or you don’t like the way things are going, find a way to fix it or a committee to join that can make decisions which will have an impact on your issue or concern,” he said.
In Rule’s case, his colleagues were interested in SPEEA but weren’t up-to-date on the issues. “By becoming a Council Rep, I gained exposure to what’s going on in the union and was better able to provide useful information to the members with whom I work on a daily basis.”
His goals for SPEEA include getting more members involved, particularly newer employees, and keeping waste and excess to a minimum. “I want to make sure members get high value for their dues.”
Since starting at Boeing in 2001, Rule has worked in many areas, including Phantom Works, Connexion by Boeing and Integrated Defense Systems. He’s currently a design and analysis engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) Commercial Aviation Services.
Rule earned three Bachelor of Science degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology in physics, applied mathematics and computer science. He holds two Master of Science degrees from the University of Washington in physics and computer science/engineering.
He was born and raised in California’s central valley. For hobbies, Rule enjoys traveling and scuba diving. His family includes his wife, Carrie, SPEEA NW Council Rep, and her son, who attended Aviation High School. The couple also have three young daughters.
MW Regional VP
Keith Covert, a lead engineer on the Airbus 350 at Spirit AeroSystems, sees the value of unions fighting for middle-class wages, benefits and overtime.
“Based on the data we have, it can show a good correlation – the higher the union member density, the better the wages,” he said. “That’s really the middle class.”
Covert, who started his career at Boeing Wichita nearly 30 years ago, joined SPEEA in 1999 during a contentious round of contract talks.“We could see the possibility of problems and wanted to be sure to become members and vote on the contract,” he said.
He also sees firsthand what SPEEA and unions have done to help. He knew engineers who remembered when they didn’t get paid for overtime. The SPEEA Wichita Engineering Unit (WEU) contract calls for straight time plus $6.50 per hour.
No small thing is a contract that locks in health insurance benefits. “I’ve seen what’s happened with insurance related to contract negotiations,” he said.
Covert also serves on the SPEEA-Spirit Joint Oversight Committee.
In addition to fishing and hunting, Covert’s other hobbies include working on his 1974 Ford Bronco, 1965 Ford F100 four wheel-drive pickup and 1972 Mustang Coupe.
He’s married to Judith, and they have two sons, Keith Covert II, and Harrison.
NW Regional VP
Mike Shea, a quality engineer on the 777 at Boeing Everett, walks his talk, when he emphasizes the need for more SPEEA involvement. “I am the guy coming off the sidelines,” said Shea, a Council Rep since 2015.
He also stepped up in the past few years to join committees, including the Negotiation Prep Committee, Action and Communication Taskforce (ACT) and the SPEEA Veterans Committee.
He pursued the role of vice president to help encourage more members to take part in and pride in their union. He suggested they start by knowing who their Area Rep(s) and Council Rep(s) are and seeking assistance if needed, voting when they receive a ballot in the mail and attending a lunchtime meeting.
When Shea started at Boeing in 1997, he was in the Tech unit. Through the Boeing Learning Together Program, he earned an engineering master’s degree that took into account his bachelor’s degree in management (emphasis on manufacturing). He needed to take engineering prerequisites to qualify.
NW Regional VP
Mark Worden, a structures stress analyst on the 777-9X, Fuselage Section 46, is a third generation union-represented Boeing employee and day-one union member when he started at Boeing nearly three decades ago. His grandmother was in the ‘sewing circle’ at the Red Barn and later became a Rosie the Riveter (IAM). His father was in the SPEEA Prof unit.
For nearly the past two decades, Worden has been involved in SPEEA – as an Area Rep, then Council Rep for about 14 years. He was a member of the Governing Documents Committee when it revised the SPEEA Constitution and By-laws and continues to take part in the Everett Roundtable and Everett Site Assembly.
Standing up for others comes naturally to Worden, who remembers what it was like to ride the ‘short bus’ for special education until he was diagnosed with Dyslexia (a disability that affects reading). “This made me a ‘system fighter’ and advocate for others.” He encourages members in need to “always get representation” from a Council Rep or contract administrator if facing a workplace/contract issue.
Worden advises members to take full advantage of Ed Wells Partnership for technical and professional training and to “try new things and get your hands dirty.”
In his spare time, he considers himself a serious fisherman, whale watcher, outdoor/nature photographer and an aspiring Pumpkin Chunker – “saving up for the big build.” He and his wife, Laurie, live in Marysville, with their four cats.