An upgrade is the action to advance employee from their present grade
level to a higher level. Simple as that.
But the confusion begins if you ask, "When is
management required to give me an upgrade?" There are two different
answers for the question depending on the situation.
Article 22 of the contracts provides that employees should be properly
classified, this includes grade level.
22.5(e) Tech Contract / 22.5(d) Prof & WEU Contracts / 22.3 WTPU Contract
Challenges Concerning Individual Employee's Job Family, Level, or SMC.
An individual employee may request a review of his or her job classification
or level based on the contention the work assigned by the Company differs
from the job classification or skills management code to the extent and
in such a manner as to warrant reclassifying the employee to a different
existing job classification or skills management code.
Frequently, there is confusion by managers and employees
in addressing a level upgrade. Simply put, if you are doing the work already,
management has an obligation to change your level accordingly. If you
are not doing the work, but qualified, management has the option of granting
you a promotion.
Some other considerations:
|The Employee Classification
Worksheet (ECW) is an important document in identifying an employee's
actual duties, the level of those duties, and the percentage of the
time they are performed. The supervisor is the one who submits the
form to the Skill Team. However, you can provide your supervisor with
a rough draft of the form and make your own assessment. This will
give both of you something to discuss prior to submitting the form to
the Skill Team.
|The Supervisor is a key player.
Unfortunately, if your Supervisor does not agree that you are performing
at the higher level more than 50% of the time, the Skill Team will
not agree to an upgrade based on proper classification. However, your
supervisor can request an upgrade based on your ability to work at
the higher level.
|In some cases, management
has assigned lower level duties to individuals. It's important to
keep that in mind when developing your assessment of duties. In other
words, just because you are doing the identical work of someone who is
a Level 3, does not mean the work is Level 3. Take a look at the level
guide for your job classification or skill code to determine whether
your duties meet the criteria for a higher level.
|With ongoing layoffs there have been
fewer promotions as various organizations struggle to utilize employees
at their current level and maximum potential. However, if an employee
is performing at the higher level, the Company is obligated contractually
to classify them appropriately.
The process for challenging proper classification is an
"appeal" rather than a grievance. Again, the supervisor is the
key player, if their assessment is that the employee is performing at
the higher level more than 50% of the time, there is a strong likelihood
you will be successful upon appeal. However, if the supervisor is not
in agreement, it is unlikely that the appeal will succeed.
Under the Salaried Job Classification, each employee's job classification
is comprised of an Occupation, a Job Family and a Level of responsibility
within that particular Occupation and Job Family. Additionally, employees
are assigned a Skills Management Code (SMC) that is used by workforce
management for redeployment purposes.
The Occupation represents the broadest description of the work performed.
The Job Family is indicative of how the work is organized.
Levels of responsibility further delineate the Job Family. An individual's
level is determined with the help of the Responsibility Guide established
for each Job Family. These guidelines are used jointly by the employee
and his/her manager to determine the appropriate current level for the
employee. It is also used to develop opportunities for changes in the
Managers represent their employees within a Skill Team. The Skill Teams
are comprised of managers of employees in a particular job classification
within a particular geographic region. The Skill Team's decisions are final
unless the grievance process is invoked. Managers' duties and responsibilities
include discussions about upgrades with their employees.
SPEEA represented employees have the responsibility to provide their manager
with all the necessary and available information to insure the manager can
represent them adequately in the Skill Team. This is of particular significance
when a manager is attempting to get an employee an upgrade.
The Company assumes you are classified in the appropriate Occupation, Job
Family, and SMC. If this is not correct, upgrading to the next level could
1) Make an appointment to discuss your SJC classification with your manager.
Gather and organize all appropriate data prior to the meeting.
2) Talk with your manager regarding your job responsibilities. It doesn't
do you any good if you are the only one who knows that you are performing
at a level higher than you are currently rated. Performance Management is
an excellent vehicle for these discussions, not to mention that it is required
per the Collective Bargaining Agreements. Additional information should
be documented using the Employee Classification Worksheets (ECWs) available
online at http://www-co.boeing.com/hr/comp_jd/ (Attachment 4 of the conversion
handbook), or downloadable from the SPEEA site here.
3) Attempt to understand your manager's assessment of your level. Ask your
manager to explain their reasoning for placing you in your assigned level.
Ask them to cite examples of actual work performed rather than feelings
4) Explain your assessment of an appropriate level. Reference the Responsibility
Guidelines and give specific examples. Present applicable evidence (e.g.
Performance Management, ECW, etc.). Focus on examples of actual work performed
rather than feelings or perceptions.
5) Have your manager review the Responsibility Guidelines for your Job Family.
If you and your manager do not agree on the appropriate level, focus the
discussion around the responsibility guidelines for the appropriate Job
Family. Make sure that he or she is aware of what it is you actually do
for a majority of your time and the responsibilities associated with those
tasks. Make notes during these discussions to determine what it is that
your manager is disputing. Not only will this aid you in understanding the
differences in interpretation of the responsibility guidelines, giving you
insight on what to focus on in the future; it can also prove valuable if
an appeal or grievance is later pursued. As a minimum, you should end these discussions
with a clear understanding of the differences of interpretation and have
specific examples illustrating these differences.
There are three possible outcomes from the meeting with your manager:
1) You and your manager agree that you are properly classified and you have
a clear understanding of what it will take to obtain an upgrade in the future.
2) You and your manager agree that an upgrade is in order, either immediately
or with a little more data collection. If this is the case, you should be
prepared to work with your manager to assure that he or she has the appropriate
data to convince the Skill Team of the need for an upgrade. The ECW is very
helpful in this regard.
3) You and your manager cannot agree on the appropriate level, but you now
have an understanding of the basis by which your manager is evaluating your
efforts. In some instances, employees and their managers will disagree on
the appropriate level for the employee. In other situations, the Skill Team
will decline an upgrade despite a manager's efforts to the contrary. In
either case, SPEEA represented individuals have the ability to pursue an appeal or a
grievance for an upgrade.
The following are very helpful for pursuing an upgrade:
|Copy of Responsibility Guide
for the particular SJC Job Family.
|Performance Management Define
and at least Interim Review or some other documentation substantiating
| Employee Classification
Worksheet (ECW) with detailed information relative to the employee's
day-to-day responsibilities (e.g., what the employee does the majority
of the time). This should be compiled over a significant period of
time to adequately capture the overall responsibility level.
|With ongoing layoffs there
have been fewer promotions as various organizations struggle to utilize
employees at their current level and maximum potential. However, if
an employee is performing at the higher level, the Company is obligated
contractually to classify them appropriately.
|Awards and other indications
of continuing success at the higher responsibility level.
If you decide an appeal is warranted,
contact your SPEEA Council Representative.
Look up your representative at: Council Rep lookup