SEARCH THE SPEEA SITE

Home Contact News Organizing General info Negotiations Northwest Midwest Archive
Newsletter
Splotlite
Special Pubs
Retention
Attrition
News
layoff
Political Action
 

March 2002

SPEEA visits Chicago & Boeing Headquarters

SPEEA visits "Center of Universe"

Irving unanimously rejects Boeing contract offer

Your voice counts!

Letters to the editor

SPEEA - Strike one remembered

Your vote matters!

Survey 2 available on web

Anniversary open house

Classified Ads

News from Midwest Region

WEU Negotiation Team selected

New Tellers selected

Bowling team organized for charity

Midwest Council passes budget

New Perf. Eval. form for Engineers

Wichita-Hutchinson minutes

Midwest WAC elects officers


SPEEA visits "Center of Universe"

Irving contract, outsourcing and Spokane closure prompt Chicago picketing

CHICAGO - SPEEA members from four states became the first employees to picket Boeing corporate leaders at Boeing's new "World Headquarters."

The informational picketing by SPEEA members and staff took place Tuesday, Feb. 5. The group carried signs and flyers highlighting a number of issues, including Boeing's mean-spirited negotiations in Irving, outsourcing work, the possible closure of the Spokane plant and the general disrespect of Boeing technical workers.

Displaying signs and a banner that said "Respect & Jobs for U.S. Workers" the group was well received by non-Boeing workers who were happy to carry buttons and flyers into the building.

"It was a tremendous success," said Charles Bofferding, executive director. "We were received very well by passersby and the city."

A large contingent of media representatives from local and national wire services based in Chicago was waiting at the Boeing entrance when the picketers arrived. While sunny skies prevailed, the air temperature was a frigid 25 degrees as picketing started.

Boeing wasted no time issuing a statement in an attempt to counter the picketing. SPEEA went to Chicago partly based on feedback from Boeing's negotiating team in Irving who said the decisions were being made in Chicago. However, the Boeing statement said decisions regarding Irving negotiations and other issues were being made at the Commercial Airplane headquarters in Renton, Washington.

Craig Buckham, SPEEA President, and Greg Junemann, international President of the IFPTE, were among the sign carriers. Also on hand were the Irving Negotiation Team members Redge Thompson, Joyce Thomas and Clint Kinser. Joe Newberry, Executive Board member from Wichita; Jennifer Mackay, Spokane Council Rep; and Steve Dunham, president of SCPEA, were among the people picketing. Several representatives from the Chicago Labor Federation joined the picket in a show of solidarity.

"I wouldn't have missed this for anything," Junemann said. "Boeing needs to know we can and will be here to make our point. They can't hide in Chicago."

SPEEA was the guest of the local federation at a meeting later in the day. Thanking the federation for their support, Bofferding told the group "We do like your town. We like it so much, we're going to come back."

Back to Top


President's Corner

Your voice counts!

By Craig Buckham

We have just selected Negotiation Teams for the two Puget Sound contracts and for the Wichita Engineering contract. Our increased membership and recent track-record provide a markedly different environment than we faced at the beginning of the last round of negotiations. The world economic circumstances are also very different. I believe we have chosen talented, dedicated negotiators who are up to this challenge, but they need your help.

In one way, the situation surrounding the negotiations is the same as in past years. The teams will be working in your interest, guided by what you - the members - have told them.

Our Negotiation Teams need information from people. Not just from people who "scream," but from all people. Those with passion and energy are easy to find and understand. They provide valuable input. Often their zeal and commitment are an inspiration for all of us. Those who are not as "noisy" are harder to find and listen to, but their opinions are just as important. It is imperative that we develop a positive agenda that takes into account the diverse interests of our entire community.

Here are some things you can do to ensure your voice is part of the SPEEA mission:

* Contact your SPEEA leadership. If you have a specific issue, concern or solution, discuss it with your Council Rep. Send an email to me, another Board member, or one of the Negotiators. Much of SPEEA's success is a direct result from this kind of dialog.

* Attend area meetings. Even if you do not have a burning issue, it is helpful to have an audience participate in evaluating ideas. Perhaps you will be able to provide some insight into someone else's burning issue. These meetings are truly two-way information sharing.

* Take the time to complete the negotiations survey. The first one was deliberately open-ended, inviting people to give ideas. The survey provided a great deal of information, but it was information from a relatively small percentage of our membership. The next survey will be more specific and computer-friendly (see related article on page 8). It will be easier to fill out. We need responses from as many people as possible. Please take the time to give us your input.

* If you get a call, at your home, from our polling organization Wilson Research (your caller-id will show "Wilson Research"), please take the time to participate. All of our other information-gathering methods are self-selected. The poll is a true cross section. Polling helps us adapt our communications, develop a negotiations strategy, and adjust other SPEEA services to best serve the entire membership. This is our opportunity to do a sanity check on information we develop elsewhere.

* Vote! Vote in Board elections and referenda as well as contracts.

SPEEA is a member-driven democracy. It is up to you whether you are one of the drivers or just along for the ride.

Back to Top


EIP - Nothing for SPEEA

There are quite a few unhappy SPEEA people in my group, including myself, about the fact The Boeing Company's leaders continue to go out of their way to "punish" union represented employees by not including them in the EIP (Employee Incentive Program). On top of that, they go out of their way to increase the amount of the payout by writing off the 9/11 impact and callously announce that "the Boeing team" worked hard for this while alienating half of that team from reaping the reward.

If they can go out of their way to eliminate the monthly medical co-payments of the non-represented people after our 40-day strike (in order to standardize benefits across the entire company-or so they say), then they could easily offer represented employees the EIP (in order to standardize rewards across the company). In any case, I and many other fellow employees feel strongly that we should be included in this program and that SPEEA should make it a priority to get this included in our upcoming contract. After all, we will probably never see a dime from the failed Share- Value Program (which by the way, is also offered to non-represented people).

Polarizing the workforce is counterproductive to the health of The Boeing Company. This practice is undermining any remaining morale, loyalty and dedication. I am counting on the SPEEA leadership to join me in reminding The Boeing Company of this as contract negotiations near.
-- Allen D. Filipowicz (Auburn)

Spokane plant is another mixed message

I have read with dismay all the stories about the possible closure of the Spokane plant. Boeing is sending the wrong messages to its employees. I remember years ago when there was pressure to get costs down and improve processes so we would be more competitive. The Boeing News printed success stories to commend the best efforts. One of the success stories was about the Spokane plant and how they improved their processes and significantly reduced costs and flow time. Later, there was another article about the Spokane plant securing a contract with a major airline to provide replacement floor panels. The story told how the contract proved they could compete in the marketplace and the new contract would stabilize the workforce through the ups and downs of the new airplane market.

Lately, I see stories in various media that Boeing is considering closing the profitable Spokane plant. What a conflicting message this sends to employees. Boeing tells us that the way to secure jobs for the future is to improve processes and get costs down to be more competitive. But, in the end, it doesn't really matter. Even if we are successful they may close us down. Is this really the type of message Boeing wants to send to its employees?
-- Albin Gersich (Kent)

Hope this is not a sign of the future

(Originally addressed to CEO Philip Condit and BCA President Alan Mulally)

As a Boeing employee and SPEEA Council Rep (District P-4) I am disappointed in the latest news from the SPEEA/Boeing negotiations in Irving Texas.

I had hoped the Company learned from past negotiation mistakes. Boeing should be fair and offer the SPEEA-represented people in Irving the same package provided other employees in Irving. All of Boeing is a FAMILY, no matter where the plant is located.

As hard as the last negotiations and strike were, we went back to our jobs and helped the Company reach goals. We hoped the Company would use the "Partnership" to make things better.

SPEEA members remember the strike and the way they were treated by Boeing. I am sure you remember the view of burn barrels, the loyal employees forced to fight to save the company they loved. SPEEA members everywhere support Boeing family members in Irving, Texas. Please understand the importance of a good-will gesture by offering a fair 2nd contract to Irving employees. To not even get a single "Yes" vote on a contract is a telling sign.
-- Joel Funfar (Plant II)

SPEEA Letters Policy

SPEEA Spotlite welcomes letters to the editor that address issues. Letters should be 250 words or less and may be edited for publication. Letters should avoid personal attacks. All letters must include both home address and daytime telephone number for verification. Due to space, not all letters can be published.

Send letters to: Bill Dugovich, SPEEA * 15205 52nd Ave. S. * Seattle, WA 98188
E-mail: billd@speea.org

Back to Top


What others are saying

SPEEA - Strike one remembered...

Courtesy of Dr. Dobb's Journal, http://www.ddj.com/
Copyright (c) 2001 Dr. Dobb's Journal

While it didn't have the punch of the 1997 United Parcel Service labor strike that put 186,000 workers on the picket line, or the pizzazz of the 1994-95 Major League Baseball strike with its downtrodden multimillionaires, the Boeing engineers strike of 2000 was nonetheless a milestone in labor history.

To recap: In February 2000, 17,000-plus frustrated Boeing scientists, engineers, and software developers walked off the job for 40 days until management caved in to worker demands. What the engineers got in return for ending the strike were wage increases of 17 percent over three years, signing bonuses to return to work, management's promise not to cut health benefits, a greater voice in company decisions, and company-neutral union elections. What is significant about this job action, however, is that it was the largest strike by white-collar technical professionals in American history.

What brings this story to the surface just now is the publication of "The Boeing Story: Why Engineers Strike," written by Woodruff Imberman and published in the University of Indiana's Business Horizon Journal (http://www.indiana.edu/~librcsd/ csc/Detailed/64.html). Imberman, who is president of the management-consulting firm of Imberman and DeForest (http://www.imbdef.com/), is no stranger to studies such as this; he has written many times about employee-relation issues in a number of industries. In the process of conducting his independent analysis, Imberman learned that the Boeing engineers' strike had little to do with money and a lot to do with technical professionals wanting to do the job they were hired to do.

Historically, Boeing was a company dedicated to technical excellence. Its airplanes were able to go further and faster more efficiently than those of its competitors, and management, which consisted mainly of engineers who had worked their way up the foodchain, stressed engineering excellence above all else. This model worked well until competition from Airbus, the consortium funded by Germany and France, put financial pressures on Boeing like it had never felt before. Consequently, like a lot of other companies in the 1990s, Boeing began "moving from a period where [its] products were defined by their performance to a period where costs are more important," at least according to Boeing CEO Philip Condit.

In an effort to stop the bleeding, Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas, a longtime competitor that was in the throes of its own financial woes, not to mention reeling from a variety of federal criminal indictments. For whatever reasons, the McDonnell Douglas management team that had done such a bang-up job with that company was brought in to lead the "new" Boeing. From slashed R&D budgets to reduced medical benefits, cost cutting became the new corporate mission statement. And in all of the excitement of tying executive bonuses to improved financial performance, management forgot about one thing - the technical staff. In fact, according to Imberman and others, management was so out of touch with the engineering staff that it was totally and completely blindsided by the strike.

All this water-under-the-bridge stuff aside, Imberman's analysis of what motivates technical staffs is of particular interest and relevance here. In a nutshell, Imberman focuses on four areas that are "key to high morale and productivity among such highly skilled professionals as aerospace engineers, scientists, and computer experts." None of these areas should be of any surprise to anyone who has worked in high-tech environments, although they were missed by Boeing executive management who were more focused on cost cutting than technical excellence.

For one thing, technical professionals want to be managed by other technical professionals. This is, says Imberman, the basis for "generating an atmosphere of professionalism and respect." In this regard, technical professionals see themselves as members of a learned society, instead of being merely corporate employees, and they would rather be praised by an engineering supervisor than a nonengineer.

Second, technical professionals are less interested in money per se, than in having salary differentials that acknowledge technical excellence. At Boeing, engineering salaries had fallen behind those in the marketplace, while technician salaries had risen, relatively speaking.

Third, technical professionals want advancement opportunities that are clearly spelled out. Face it, engineering is based on exact science, not vague generalities. As such, engineering attracts individuals who are keen on exactness. Trying to placate the ambitions of technical staff members with generalities didn't work at Boeing and won't work elsewhere.

Finally, technical professionals are motivated by recognition of professional competence. This recognition might involve being given responsibility for project management, peer recognition of excellence, or the opportunity to contribute to the overall good of the company.

Clearly, many of the problems confronting Boeing were unique to Boeing. But at the same time, the lessons learned are applicable to any organization that includes technical staffs. Sure, money is fine, but more often than not, people choose technical vocations because of the opportunity to create and contribute. The new Boeing management, intent on stock prices and executive bonuses, learned this the hard way. Well, let's hope they learned something. The engineers' contract is due to expire in December 2002.

Jonathan Erickson
editor-in-chief

Back to Top


NEWS FROM MIDWEST REGION

WEU Negotiation Team selected

At February's Wichita Engineering Unit Council meeting, the WEU Council elected the five 2002 WEU Negotiation Team members. The team members are:

Primary Negotiators

Shane Michael has been a member of SPEEA for the last 6 years, since Wichita affiliated with SPEEA. He has served on the last three negotiation teams and presently serves as a Council Representative. He participates in several Midwest Committees and works to enforce the contract and monitor problems. Shane has previous union experience as an IAM-WEA Council Representative.

Joe Newberry has also been a member of SPEEA for the last 6 years. He has served on negotiation teams before and presently serves as the Midwest Vice-President to the SPEEA Executive Board. Joe wants to maintain/improve contract features as well as keep Boeing Wichita a good place to work with the appropriate benefits and the employment safeguards that a contract provides. Joe has previous union experience as an Area Representative.

Dave Huster has been a member of SPEEA for the last 2 years, and he presently serves as a Council Representative. Dave wants to serve members to the best of his capabilities.

Alternate Negotiators

Burt Shah has been a member of SPEEA for the last 6 years. Burt was a member of the reorganization team for SPEEA and has represented the Midwest Region at CESO. He is currently serving as a Council Representative and as Treasurer for the Midwest Council. Burt is prepared to work hard and devote all the time necessary for the 2002 negotiations. He has an understanding of Boeing Wichita Management as well as their relationship with the Boeing corporate management. Burt has also completed negotiation training on company-union negotiations.

Dave Sly has been a member of SPEEA for the last 2 years. Dave possesses strong persuasion and speaking skills that will prove beneficial to the negotiation team.


[Editor's note: Watch next month's issue for information on newly-elected Puget Sound Negotiation Team members.]

Back to Top


New Tellers selected

SPEEA's revised governing documents call for a biennial election of all Regional Tellers, with a vote by the entire regional membership. The major responsibilities of the Tellers are to perform the annual audit of SPEEA's financial records, conduct all balloting & elections of SPEEA, and perform "redistricting" of the Council districts to insure that each district represents approximately 200 bargaining unit members. Any member can serve as a Teller - however, they cannot concurrently serve as an Executive Board member, Council Rep, JRC member or Ombudsman. Since there were only three names submitted for nomination for the three positions in the Midwest Region, the nominees will be automatically seated without an election. The new Midwest Region tellers are Rick Nelson (WEU), George Anthony (WTPU) and Larry Thompson (WTPU).

Back to Top


Bowling Team organized for charity

SPEEA/Wichita has organized a team to bowl in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl For Kids' Sake fundraiser. Bowl For Kids Sake is Big Brothers/Big Sisters primary fund-raiser and is the largest community-wide fundraising effort in the State of Kansas. More than 6,000 bowlers, 50,000 individual sponsors and a host of companies sponsored last year's campaign, helping to raise more than $770,000. In addition to raising money, the campaign generated nearly 580 requests for information about becoming a Big Brother, Sister, Couple or Family match. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Sedgwick County helps boys and girls, most of whom are considered at risk and live in single-parent homes, achieve their full potential through long-term personal relationships with carefully screened and caring volunteers. Team members have pledge sheets and are asking for your support by sponsoring them to bowl. The SPEEA/Wichita team is comprised of Harold Evans, Jeff Amburgey, Debbie Yeager, Ken Yeager, Jack Lampson, and Debbie Logsdon (alternate).

Back to Top


Midwest Council Passes Budget

In their February meeting, the Midwest Council passed a $40,000 budget for the next year. The budget, presented by Midwest Council Treasurer Burt Shah, was an estimate of what might be needed for the next fiscal year, which runs from April 2002 to March 2003. Estimated cost topics were food for committee and council meetings that run late into the night, area representative meetings, Win Win cards, speakers and seminars, all-member meetings, the annual recognition banquet, and miscellaneous member activities costs. Staff salaries and building costs come out of the SPEEA budget, which will be voted on at the March SPEEA Council meeting.

Back to Top


New Performance Evaluation form for Wichita Engineers

Letter of Understanding (LOU) # 18 in the SPEEA Wichita Engineering Unit (WEU) contract says that the SPEEA engineers were tasked with the Company to come up with an improved Performance Management (PM) process before 2002. A joint SPEEA/Boeing subcommittee met for the last two years in an attempt to provide an improvement to the process and form on which both parties could agree. For various reasons, the results of the subcommittee's efforts resulted in a proposal in late November 2001, to use the current WTPU Performance Evaluation (PE) form for the WEU represented engineers in 2002. The Company then asked the SPEEA WEU Council to approve the use of this new form for the Wichita engineers for 2002. A timely decision was needed in order to allow time to implement the new form if the WEU Council approved the proposal.

The SPEEA WEU Council discussed the company's proposal and decided on December 4, 2001 to try the new PE form for Wichita engineers for 2002. This decision fulfills two roles.

1) Having the engineers use the same PE form as the SPEEA WTPU Bargaining Unit employees provides a common process for all SPEEA Wichita represented employees and managers.

2) Using the new form in 2002 for engineers demonstrates an attempt by both parties to improve the process as defined in LOU #18 of the WEU contract.

A PE survey of the engineers will take place later in 2002. If the survey results show the new form is not desired over the old PM form by a majority of Wichita engineers, then the 2002 WEU Negotiation Team will ask the Company this Fall during main table negotiations to reinstate the use of the old form into the WEU contract again. If a majority of Wichita engineers like the new PE form, then it will likely become part of the new contract.

The joint SPEEA/Boeing decision along with WEU contract LOU #18 allows the option for engineers to use the old PM and/or PDP form in addition to the new PE form during the 2002 trial period.

Back to Top


Wichita-Hutchinson Labor Federation minutes - Jan 24, 2002

Key speakers for this meeting were the AFL-CIO's Wayne Michaels, community service director, and Nancy McCormick, the Midwest Regional Community Service Liaison. Mr. Michaels discussed the community services program, which makes Kansas a better place to live and work. Ms. McCormick discussed the local liaison position and its significance. Nancy led the new labor delegates, including the first WTPU delegates for the Federation, through their oaths of service.

The Help Center for Laid off Workers was discussed. Call (316) 267-4327 for details on registering. A one-page fact-sheet describing the center was provided at the meeting.

Sue Ledbetter talked about her trip with Mark Love to the national AFL-CIO convention, and the Union Cities program. Our Federation was recognized along with Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. This recognition was quite an achievement for our Labor Federation and for the cities of Wichita and Hutchinson.

Stuart Elliott, the labor federation's web master, mentioned the new weekly e-mail update of the web page.

Board representatives were elected for 2002. Earl Carter, Bob Brewer and Carolyn Myers were nominated to represent SPEEA during Executive Board meetings.

The 21st Annual Union Label Chili and Hobo Supper slated for Feb. 9th was mentioned. It will begin at 5:30, located at 3830 S. Meridian. The supper will feature Bingo, all-you-can-eat chili, hobo stew and dessert. Cost $5.00 per person.

Back to Top


Midwest WAC elects officers

The Women's Advocacy Committee of the Midwest Region elected new officers this January.

Cathy Cummins, WTPU Area Representative in district N-26, was elected vice-chair. Stacey Shoffner, WTPU Area Representative in district N-26, was elected to the position of WAC Secretary. Linda Newell was elected as chair last fall.

The SPEEA Women's Advocacy Committee serves as a central voice for professional and technical women to promote women's issues, educate the community, and influence workplace policy. The Midwest Women's Advocacy Committee passionately supports and promotes the education of women in the workforce and recognizes the need to protect women now by sharing information and eliminating barriers.

The Midwest Women's Advocacy Committee meets every 2nd Tuesday at 5:00 in the Wichita SPEEA office.

Back to Top


Your Participation (and Vote) Matters

This is an important year for SPEEA. We will have the first negotiations in the Puget Sound since our historic strike. Now is the time to demonstrate that ALL SPEEA represented employees are fully engaged and involved in the actions of SPEEA.

One good way to show your support is to take the time to vote in the Executive Board elections. Members will be selecting a President, Treasurer and Secretary. There are five candidates for President, two for Treasurer and five for Secretary. Your vote will make a difference in these hotly contested races.

Ballots will be mailed to all members' homes by Feb 27th and must be returned by noon on March 13th. Ballots will be counted on March 13th and the new officers will be seated on March 27th. To help members find and return their ballots,
ballots will be mailed in envelopes marked "BALLOT".

SPEEA's success depends on member involvement and support.

Voting is both easy and important.

Back to Top


SPEEA Negotiations Survey #2 available on SPEEA Web Site

Three SPEEA negotiated contracts expire later this year: the Puget Sound-based Technical Unit, the Puget Sound-based Professional Unit, and the Wichita Engineering Unit.

The Negotiations Preparation Committee has prepared a second survey utilizing responses from the previous (September SPOTLITE) survey plus other member input. The survey is available on the SPEEA web site here.

Please take a few minutes to go to the SPEEA web site and complete the survey. When you access that web page, you will be asked to enter your clock number and last name. Only active employees in the three bargaining units noted above, plus retirees who belong to ERS will be granted access to the survey.

For people unable to complete the survey online, you may contact the SPEEA office for a printed copy of the web survey. Complete the print version, return it to the office by the end of March, and the results will be added to those returned electronically.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can go to your local public library where they will allow you access. Please complete by March 31st.

The survey will be available on the SPEEA web site for the entire month of March. After that time, the survey will be tabulated by the Negotiation Preparation Committee and the results will be provided to the Negotiation Teams. A summary of the survey results will also be printed in a future SPEEA SPOTLITE.

Back to Top


Anniversary -- 40-days on the line

Open House - March 20th

SPEEA Tukwila - Everett - Wichita

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Back to Top