SPEEA Leaders are committed to helping aerospace professionals gain the
benefits and security of union representation.
“The SPEEA Council is committed to organizing new bargaining units to enhance the bargaining power of the SPEEA membership with our existing employers while simultaneously and judiciously extending a union voice and union wages, benefits and working conditions to other members of the defense, aerospace and aerospace-related engineering, technical and scientific community.”
SPEEA Council Motion 12/09
SPEEA members have a respected voice at work because they stand together on the important issues affecting their work. They are part of the largest white collar union representing engineers, scientists, technicians, pilots and other professionals in the U.S. aerospace industry. The more than 25,000 aerospace employees represented by SPEEA are covered by legally-binding collective bargaining agreements that guarantee wages, benefits and working conditions.
A true democratic union, SPEEA members hold elections to select officers, workplace representatives and negotiation team members. It takes a team to make SPEEA a democratic union, beginning with involved members and a structure designed to get things done:
SPEEA Executive Board is comprised of seven members serving staggered two-year terms. The seven members include the union's president, treasurer, secretary and four regional vice presidents. These elected leaders meet twice a month to administer the affairs of the union.
Council Representatives: (CRs) are work site based elected representatives who represent approximately 200 SPEEA represented employees. They are the union stewards. Council Representatives meet once a month and are responsible for creating and enforcing the policies of the union.
Area Representatives: Work with Council Representatives to augment workplace communications with represented employees.
One of the benefits of SPEEA union representation is to know you’re not alone in case of a discipline or security issue. All SPEEA members have additional rights beyond the standard Weingarten Rights for unions. Trained members (Council and Area representatives) are available in the workplace. Union staff are available to assist members if they are called into a meeting that could lead to discipline.
Every negotiated contract spells out a fair process agreed to by both the company and SPEEA members outlining progression discipline. Members cannot be subjected to unknown or disorderly discipline by company management.
Note: the following examples apply to members of the Boeing Puget Sound
Tech and Prof bargaining units unless otherwise noted.
SPEEA members have some of the highest job standards in the Untied States for professional aerospace workers. Pay and benefits members have today are the results of more than 60 years of contract negotiations, workplace actions, and cooperative efforts.
Affordable health care benefits are essential for working families. Negotiations have prevented unjust benefit cuts and secured a medical plan free from premium contributions. Union contract benefits cannot be changed without negotiating with the union.
In 2008 negotiations, contract gains included enhanced coverage for the Traditional Medical Plan and Select Network Plan. Many employers push health-care costs to employees, sometimes with little notice. The costs can amount to hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. SPEEA negotiators have fought to save members thousands of dollars in benefit reductions and increasing costs. They would not have been successful without the strength of the 24,000-plus members in the union.
Traditional Medical Plan: Contract guarantees better coverage
Union plan pays 100% after the $225 deductible, and even allowed non-network expenses are limited to $4,000 for a family, no more than $2,000 per person. The non-union 2012 plan pays 90%. After the $300 deductible, the non-network expense maximum is $12,000 for a family, no more than $4,000 per person.
Hospital cost comparison
For every 1,000 members, spouses and dependants covered, we expect 80 to 100 to be admitted to a hospital at some point during the year.
For every in-network hospital admission
For every in-network $15,000 hospital admission in 2012 individuals pay the $225 annual deductible. After the deductible, 100% of the covered charges are paid. If three members of their family are hospitalized and each had a $15,000 admission, the SPEEA represented employee will pay $675.
The same $15,000 hospital admission will cost a non-union employee $1,770 ($300 deductible plus 10% of the covered charges). If three members of their family are hospitalized and each had a $15,000 admission, the non-union employee will pay $5,310.
When you need it most, the SPEEA plan puts more in your pocket! Union long-term disability pays 60% of pre-disability earnings. Benefits are also tax-free. The non-union benefit is limited to 50% and is taxable as income.
Contract negotiations eliminated limits on the Select Network plans for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, transplant limits, and other items, including how frequently members need an ambulance.
“Properly practiced, unions simplify and protect the communication process between management and employees. SPEEA helps create a workplace environment where each person’s voice can be heard without fear. Prior to union representation, I worked for a non-union company where threats of retribution denied employees a voice in reporting safety and quality issues. I still recall vividly a manager’s threat of termination when I questioned a known safety issue.”
SPEEA President 2006 to 2010
Members believe wage increases need to be both merit-based as well as providing a guaranteed hedge against inflation. In 2008 negotiations, the professional employees succeeded in securing 5% per year wage pools through 2012. Of this amount, 2% is guaranteed to each employee and 3% is distributed based upon a merit-based system (over 99% of the represented employees received a portion of the 3% pool). At least 0.5% is slated for promotional and out-of-sequence increases throughout the year.
Our contracts guarantee premium pay for overtime despite the legal exemption that most employers use to deny professional employees additional pay for work beyond 40 hours per week. For members in the professional bargaining unit who work beyond 144 hours in a quarter, they are paid straight time plus $15 per hour through 2010. Overtime hours up to 144 hours per quarter are paid at existing rate of straight time plus $6.50.
SPEEA contracts also guarantee participation in the Employee Incentive Plan.
Shift premiums, alternate work schedules and premiums
SPEEA originated the alternate work schedules to include the incentives (weekend rate, schedule factor, and shift percentage). The concept was subsequently adopted as a best practice enterprise wide; however, only SPEEA-represented employees have protections against abuse, including preventing management from forcing employees to work weekend schedules or flex their time to accommodate partial-day absences. The union negotiations also gained increases to the shift and weekend rates for the 2008 contract.
For those whose vacation balances exceed the two-year accumulation maximum through 2010, SPEEA represented employees will be paid for the excess amount in the first paycheck of the next quarter.
Through the negotiation process, SPEEA members secured strong retention protections for members, including contract language:
Professional development and continuing education
- Requiring contractors to be released before SPEEA members are laid off.
- Requiring managers to rate employees every year even when employment numbers are increasing, so members know where they stand before any potential layoff.
- Taking years of service into consideration, ratings are also performance driven. Service adjustments are available only for those employees with 20 or more years of company service.
- Providing recall rights for three years - no one can be hired from the outside into that skill before the priority recall roster is exhausted for that skill.
- Committing to meet regularly with the union on topics related to outsourcing and contract labor.
The availability of ongoing training is important and necessary for aerospace professionals to maintain top skills and career advancement. SPEEA has successfully negotiated a number of training and career programs that help ensure members have the opportunity to maintain and gain new skills.
Ed Wells Partnership
The Ed Wells Partnership is a joint initiative between The Boeing Company and SPEEA-represented employees that provides a variety of training opportunities for members throughout the Puget Sound and in Wichita, Kansas.
Named after one of the great Boeing engineers, the Ed Wells Partnership is a model of union/management collaboration. Training opportunities enhance technical skills, develop careers and provides money to attend conferences.
“In our Boeing contract, we negotiated that Boeing will contribute a minimum of $24.8 million towards the Ed Wells Partnership. This benefits our members by providing training and development tools to enhance technical and
professional skills, and the opportunity to increase upward career mobility."
Rebekah Arnold, Ed Wells Ambassador and SPEEA Council Secretary
“If a union contract is the fortress that provides protections for workers, organizing is the foundation on which that fortress is built. Brick by brick, friend by friend, signature by signature, organizing is the only way to bring about the representation that all workers need.”
Bill Hartig, systems analyst
WTPU Organizing Committee
SPEEA members secured strong retention protections for members, including contract language for:
- Contractors must be released before SPEEA members are laid off.
- Assigned ratings each year for members to know where they stand in a potential layoff sequence.
- Consideration for 10 and 20 years of service at the company.
- Rights for recall for 3 years after layoff.
- Commitment to meet regularly with SPEEA on topics related to outsourcing and contract labor.
- Improvements to the Notice of Remedial Action (NORA) procedure to provide a more
fair and above-board process.
- Company commitment to honor international labor standards, working conditions, and human rights.
Contact SPEEA Headquarters at 1-800-325-0811 and ask for April Rebollo, Director of Organizing, or email an inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend contacting us from your personal email or personal phone. Your email or conversation is confidential and we will walk you through the steps towards negotiating a contract with your employer.
Unions Are Good for Business, Productivity and the Economy
Union Workers Have Better Health Care and Pensions