January 19, 2001 Newsletter #1819
Members around SPEEA are gearing up for to celebrate the anniversary of the 40-day strike.
February 9th marks the first anniversary of the day SPEEA members struck The Boeing Company in a unified demand for "Respect."
In Everett, Council Rep Sharon Marrell (E-12) is pulling together the piece of the SPEEA Family Celebration. The event will draw workers from the workplace during lunch periods for a hot dog barbecue near the Twin Towers. Music, refreshments and a food drive are on the agenda. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Everett SPEEA members have already started collecting canned food items to help local food banks.
"Food banks came to the aid of many SPEEA families during the strike," said Marrell. "We're now in a position to say thank you by helping them keep their shelves full."
Food items can be dropped off at the Everett SPEEA office or brought to the celebration on the 9th.
In addition, the Everett SPEEA office will host an Open House all day on the 9th. Strike memorabilia will be displayed. Visit the office and share your strike stories with fellow members.
Council Rep Gene Blackman (R-6) is coordinating the King County locations. His committee is busy planning lunchtime gatherings at several locations. Events are currently planned for the Developmental Center in Seattle and at the Renton Plant.
SPEEA members are being asked to wear their SPEEA burn-barrel pins, strike t-shirts or sweatshirts on February 9th.
Members are encouraged to check with their Council Reps for information about activities at their specific location.
In addition to the workplace activities, the SPEEA website will feature daily retrospectives of happenings from one year ago. It will be a great opportunity to get familiar with the newly-redesigned website.
The monthly SPEEA SPOTLITE will feature special articles in the February edition and an expanded March edition.
Members are encouraged to get involved by planning events for your work area.
The SPEEA strike empowered the technical community at Boeing. The 40-day work stoppage brought an improved contract for employees and earned members the respect of the entire labor movement. It is fitting to honor the first anniversary of these achievements.
New Washington State primary option proposals for 2001
There is little information on the street, yet, on the upcoming Washington State Primary battle that will start in January 2001, in Olympia. This confrontation is as a result of the United States Supreme Court's decision that the Blanket Primary in California is unconstitutional. The Blanket Primary in Washington State is not 'technically' unconstitutional, but Secretary Munro believes we need to address it. As we consider this issue in Washington State, it could be decided along major party lines, or we can improve the system so that it is fair to everyone. I predict that with 65 years of our current Blanket Primary, unless our legislators develop an evenhanded system, the 60% Independent voters in the Great State of Washington will quit voting for the Primary in droves.
On September 28th, 2000, I attended Secretary of State Ralph Munro's hearing on proposed changes in Washington State's Primary Election System. I came away with a clear idea about two of the eight options he described that I believe are fair to EVERYONE, even better than the Primary System we have today; and it would be constitutionally sound. Frankly, before that hearing, I thought our existing Primary was a good one. Secretary Munro believes that how we resolve the State Primary is "the most important issue facing the People of Washington State in the past 100 years".
Secretary Munro provided five handouts (including: an agenda; the complete written Opinion of the Court of the Supreme Court for the United States (No. 99-401), "California Democratic party, et al., petitioners v. Bill Jones, Secretary of State of California, et al."; nominating systems of other states; History of the Blanket Primary in Washington; and Alternatives to the Blanket Primary.) Of the eight possible options his office brought forward as potential new Washington State Primary systems, identified as Options A,B,C,D,E,F,G and H, only two seem to be viable options that are fair to all people, regardless of major or minor or Independent political affiliation: 1) Option E- No Major Party Primary - Party Nomination of Candidates, and 2) Option H- Nonpartisan Offices and Primary. Option H, which Justice Scalia recommended, with minor modifications could reference party affiliation in voter pamphlets. The options that require a declaration of affiliation are options A, B, C, and D. By far the majority of people who spoke at the hearing (about three hundred were present) were in favor of either Option E or H, in combination with what is called the Instant Run-off Vote (IRV), or Preference vote option. One of the things this ensures is that the winning candidate must get at least 50% of the vote, to win.
I sat next to Bob Bruce, the King County Director of Elections, and Matt McCally, former Chair of the Libertarian Party of Washington State. Among the things Bob told me were: it cost King County taxpayers $1,000,000 to hold the Blanket Primary this year. This does not include taxpayer dollars expended for the other counties.
When each of us entered the hearing room we signed in on a legal record, and checked "wishes to speak" or "does not wish to speak". I checked "wishes to speak". When it was my turn, I told everyone that my grandmother first voted in 1910 when Washington allowed women to vote for the first time (40 years after the men). Both she and my mother and father taught me to respect and treasure my right to vote; and to vote for the person, not the political party. So, reviewing my recent Primary vote, I voted for one Green, three Libertarians, and an almost equal split between Republicans and Democrats. What does that make me? I guess I am an Independent-along with ~60% of the voters in Washington State.
Going by one of the proposed voting methods (Options A, B, C and D) that makes you declare a political affiliation in order to vote, as an Independent, I would have less than 15% of the candidates to vote for; yet I would be responsible to pay for ALL the major party candidates being selected for the General Election. To me, this is a problem, and it is threefold: 1) I have a right to vote. If others affiliate who want to vote just for their party, unlike me, then let them do so outside the public arena, and save King County taxpayers $1,000,000 per Primary. 2) As a taxpayer where I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican I don't believe I should have to pay for a trial balloon where they decide their General Election candidate. That sounds like taxation without representation. The minor parties all have conventions to determine their candidates at no taxpayer expense. 3) In this country we have the secret ballot. I have the right to refuse to declare a party or tell an official how I vote, as that is an infringement of my right of privacy!! With Options A, B, C or D, where you are required to declare a political affiliation, the whole world will know how you vote by accessing public records.
To be required to declare a party sounds like a possible recipe for harassment and corruption. Two attorneys spoke about the threats, job hounding, job losses and physical violence their clients have experienced because they were forced to declare party membership in non-mainstream minority parties (Example: Senator Joseph McCarthy's hearings from the 1950's that blacklisted a generation of talented people). Using Options A, B, C, and D could perpetuate harassment through public lists. As for corruption, look at places like Chicago, where if you call your Block Warden (not the City Engineering Department) to request a pothole to be mended on your street, the answer comes back after they check your voting record. If you voted for the 'right' party, you will get it fixed in a reasonable amount of time.
I recommend consideration of Option "E", where there is no primary; each political party is financially responsible to determine their own candidate for the General election. As in the past, the General Election would be funded by the taxpayers where each of us can vote for whichever person we want, freely, and secretly and with no declaration of political party. And I also recommend a close look at the Instant Runoff Vote (IRV), to be sure that the winning candidate has over 50% of the vote. I believe that Options E and H are the only completely fair options to everyone, all things considered. If we allow our legislators to hand us Options A, B, C or D, our right of privacy will be lessened. Secretary Munro says this issue is the most important one facing the people of Washington State in the past 100 years, and I agree.
Judy Campbell has been appointed one of four SPEEA Delegates to the Washington State Labor Council. She has been a SPEEA activist for several years, most recently serving on the SPEEA Women's Advocacy Committee.
Cash payment options for employees with excess vacation credits
In April 2000, the vacation plan for SPEEA-represented employees was changed to the "accrual plan" similar to the one previously implemented for nonrepresented employees.
Beginning April 6, 2001 - following the one-year transition period - this "accrual plan" will begin limiting the number of hours of vacation credits that employees can accrue in their vacation accounts. That limit (maximum hours allowed) corresponds to an employee's completed years of service, and increases over time, as indicated in the table below:
After April 6, 2001, no new vacation credits can be accrued until the hours of credits drops under the allowable maximum; accrual of vacation credits will then resume until the limit is again reached.
Request for cash payment
To help employees with excess vacation credits reduce their unused vacation balance below the allowable maximum, you have the opportunity to request cash payment. This will benefit employees who are unable to take enough vacation because of work commitments, or those who may want to take a vacation and have extra cash as well.
Requests for pay-in-lieu of vacation hours in excess of the two-year maximum must be received by Payroll on or before MARCH 1, 2001. The form must request a minimum of 40 hours. [Employees who have less than 40 hours of excess credits must apply for a full 40 hours on the Request for Pay form. They will then receive payment for their actual number of excess hours.]
Payment will be made within four weeks from receipt of the form in Payroll. Payments will be subject to federal withholding tax, as well as applicable FICA, state and local taxes.
You can request the form [Form X30376] at a pay window or local payroll office, or download a PDF version here..
NOTE: If an employee does not request payment for excess hours, but shows excess hours in their account on April 6, 2001, payment for those excess hours will be distributed automatically to such employees. Payment will be made on the April 26, paycheck.
After April 6, employees must monitor their own vacation accounts to
assure that they do NOT exceed the maximum hours allowed, as that would
cause their accrual to cease until they drop back under the allowable
As you may know, SPEEA and the Company agreed (in a Letter of Understanding) last Fall to postpone the regular retention exercise until after the Salaried Job Classification (SJC) conversion was complete. The LOU provided that the exercise would be completed by the end of April 2001.
The Company will begin the retention review process for Puget-Sound-based SPEEA Professional and Technical Units in early March 2001. The official "groupings" will be determined based on data effective March 9th.
Employee notices will be distributed beginning April 24, 2001. And the effective date of new retentions will be April 30, 2001.
Deadline for petitions is Jan. 24
If you are planning to run for one of the open positions on the SPEEA Executive Board this year (President or Regional Vice Presidents), your completed petition must be received at SPEEA Headquarters no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24. For the instruction packet including a petition, please contact one of the SPEEA offices.
Wichita SPEEA Open House
3:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 24th
Wichita SPEEA Office
949 S. Glendale
See the newly expanded office ... Meet the new Wichita Staff ...Visit with SPEEA President Craig Buckham & Executive Director Charles Bofferding
Changes in top IFPTE officers
We are honored that our International President, Paul Almeida, has been chosen to replace retiring Jack Golodner as President of the AFL-CIO's Department for Professional Employees. This appointment will become effective in early April 2001.
A search committee was appointed to find a replacement for Paul. The committee has asked IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer Greg Junemann to step up to the office of President, and Greg has accepted. This is an excellent choice, as Greg has demonstrated all of the necessary qualities of a true leader. However, that leaves a vacancy in the office of IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer for the remaining 21/4 years of the 3-year term of office.
The search committee (comprised of IFPTE Executive Council members) has posted an announcement for nominations to fill this vacancy. One of the requirements to fill this office is that the candidate must have been a member-in-good-standing of IFPTE for 24 months immediately preceding nomination. Nominations are due February 2nd, so candidates must have been members since February 2, 1999. [SPEEA affiliated with IFPTE in the Fall of 1999.]
The IFPTE Executive Council will convene a special meeting near the end of February to fill this vacancy in accordance with the IFPTE Constitution.
Technical Short Course offered
The Manufacturing System Design Workshop is a three-day short course that introduces participants to modern manufacturing systems based on constraints management principles. It will explore the design factors required to optimize financial success and sustainable customer-service capability.
The course will be of benefit to employees involved in industrial engineering; Lean Manufacturing initiatives; manufacturing operations, engineering and planning; process simulation; and system design. Participants will learn to use computer-based simulations as a manufacturing engineering tool.
The course will be held in RENTON Wednesday, February 7 through Friday, February 9. The Ed Wells Initiative will pay tuition costs for SPEEA-represented employees. The employee's home organization pays the salary. Enrollment is limited. To apply for Initiative funding, fill out a training request form, have your supervisor sign it, and send it to the Ed Wells Initiative at mail code 6Y-93.
Check the Events Calendar at http://EdWells.web.boeing.com for course details on this and other current learning opportunities. The Ed Wells Initiative is a joint SPEEA-Boeing program for the application of technical excellence.
Recently, the Everett SPEEA office was contacted by an employee who had been recalled. The employee had accepted the recall offer, but his situation was complicated by the fact that he had recently undergone surgery and could not return to work right away. The Company agreed to give him time to recuperate. Several weeks later, he contacted the Company to return to work. He informed the Company that he had a requirement to avoid heavy lifting and climbing for a period of time, but that he should be able to perform his job without much in the way of accommodation. He was contacted by a representative of the Company and told that he could not return until any and all medical limitations were taken away. The Contract Administrator contacted the Human Resources supervisor and was able to clear up the confusion.
Result: The employee was brought back to work immediately after the break. But without SPEEA's intervention, his return could have been delayed until later, possibly February. Also, getting back on the payroll means that he will now be eligible for the final delivery bonus.
The employee is grateful to SPEEA for the help. [MM]
SPEEA Does Make A Difference!
Executive Board mini-minutes
Thursday, January 11, 2001
ATTENDEES: Craig Buckham, Alan Rice, Richard Taylor, John McLaren, Doug Ritter (Excused: Jerry Robinson, company travel)
STAFF: Charles Bofferding, Phyllis Rogers, Robbi Alberts
At this meeting, the SPEEA Executive Board:
* Approved funding for up to six SPEEA representatives to attend the Legislative Conference sponsored by the Washington State Labor Council on February 23rd in Olympia, WA.
* Authorized discounter Pat Harter to conduct a mailing to SPEEA members age 50 & over, announcing her upcoming seminars on long-term care (mailing to be conducted at no expense to SPEEA).
* Began discussion on roles and responsibilities for the new "regional vice presidents" on SPEEA's Executive Board.
* Reviewed members' concerns over cancellation of Webcombo, a discounter which went bankrupt.
* Discussed creation of a SPEEA Strike Fund vs. SPEEA Striker Relief Fund, and agreed to publish an article on the subject.
* Asked for additional details on setting up a strategic planning meeting among SPEEA leaders and staff to develop a new vision and goals. Also agreed to expand the time of the June 9th Council meeting to allow for discussion of this vision and goals.
* Heard an update on SCPEA's election and affiliation with OPEIU.
* Learned Staff assignments have been made to track agency fee and Beck objector payments, and conduct necessary billing.
* Was informed that a new SPEEA logo has been developed and distributed to the Council for discussion at their meeting January 18th.
* Agreed to work with the Council's committee to assure adequate funding for the anniversary celebration planned for February 9th.
* Was informed Staff is working with the Company to resolve "jurisdictional" issues following the SJC conversion.
Ergonomics rule tackles safety issue
Years of study, negotiation and public input culminated last summer in the implementation of a first-of-its-kind ergonomics rule in Washington State. The new rule, to be phased in over six years, is designed to prevent debilitating injuries before they happen. It requires that employers, with the assistance of their employees, find and fix workplace hazards.
Ergonomic hazards are our No. 1 job safety problem. Every year in Washington, more than 50,000 workers suffer preventable ergonomic-related injuries.
The rule will require employers to evaluate jobs to identify potential ergonomic risks such as awkward, heavy lifting or highly-repetitive motion. Employers must reduce employee exposure when these jobs are hazardous. Employers also must provide basic ergonomic education for employees who work in or supervise "risky" jobs.
Labor & Industries adopted the ergonomics rule after a 20-month rule-making process that included community meetings, advisory committees and 14 public hearings.
A copy of the rule, its concise explanatory statement, and more information is available at:
The following have resigned their positions as Council Rep:
Keith Neal (District E-14 - Techs, Everett, 40-88 Building)
Albert Bennett (District I-2 - All buildings in Irving TX)
Samish Satant (District E-9 - Profs, Everett, 40-88 Building)
If you reside in one of these areas, meet the one-year membership qualification requirement, and would like to apply to fill your district's vacancy - you can call Terry Hall for instructions (206/433-0995, ext. 130). Your completed petition must reach SPEEA Headquarters no later than noon on the date of the next Council meeting (February 8th) in order to be seated for that meeting.
This term will run through April 2001. If you wish to run for the upcoming term, watch for instructions. Petitions will be due April 4th.
AFL-CIO seeks campaign researchers
The AFL-CIO is seeking activists with varying levels of experience & backgrounds to work with various unions around the country as researchers on union organizing campaigns.
If you are committed to social justice ... are a seasoned researcher or want to become one... have background in labor or community organizing, political campaigns or student activism... are a recent college grad OR have experience in economic analysis, corporate and industry research, employment law, urban planning, corporate social responsibility or investigative journalism... are willing to work with tight deadlines and rapidly changing circumstances, to travel, and work long hours... and are looking for either full-time work or short-term contract work - then you should apply!
Campaign researchers work as a team to develop and assess campaign strategies, uncover corporate wrongdoing, and document key workplace issues... gather and analyze a wide range of information to support organizing and negotiating with employers... write and present information in a compelling way for workers, the media, policymakers, employers and community leaders... work both in an office and in the field... must develop skills in on-line research, specialized databases, and presentation software. Salaries & benefits are highly-competitive and will vary depending on geographic location and scope of job responsibilities.
How to apply? In submitting your materials, you are agreeing to have them placed on a private website that the various unions may consult to fill their job openings. This is the best way to get your name out to all unions who are hiring campaign researchers.
To apply, email the following three items to: JobSearch@aflcio.org
1. Cover letter explaining why you want to do this work and how your background prepares you for such a job (indicate if you are interested in employment only in certain states).
2. Your resume
3. A short (1-10 pages) writing sample (ideally an example of previous research you've done).
VA warns veterans about scam
The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning veterans about a financial scam that offers lump-sum payments in exchange for monthly VA disability checks or pensions.
Federal law outlaws the direct sale of VA benefits. VA is also prohibited from paying pensions and disability compensation to anyone other than a veteran, a family member, or a lawful guardian.
The latest schemes, however, attempt to avoid the long-standing federal prohibition by representing these transactions as loans. Companies persuade veterans to give up their disability and pension checks for a specific period - up to eight years - in exchange for a lump-sum cash payment typically worth 30-40% over that same period. In some cases, the veteran must also take out a life insurance policy naming the company as beneficiary.
In the case of a veteran with a disability rated at 50%, it could mean receiving a one-time payment of about $20,000, then forfeiting a $609/month payment that in the course of eight years would bring in nearly $60,000.
VA pensions go to wartime veterans incapable of self-support for reasons unrelated to their military service. VA disability compensation is paid to veterans with lingering health problems related to their time in uniform.
Miss a loan payment during strike?
A member of our Technical Unit believed the rumor that Citistreet/VIP loan payments would just be extended the number of payments missed during the strike, at the end of the loan. She skipped the payroll-deducted payment during the strike.
Because the loan was due to be paid off soon; Citistreet wrote the individual a letter stating that the missed payment needed to be made up and sent in or the loan was considered defaulted.
The member contacted Citistreet by phone to inquire why they waited ten months to notify them of the situation. But Citistreet gave no explanation for the time lag.
If you skipped a loan payment to your VIP loan (or other financial institution) during the strike, you should check with VIP (or your other creditor) to see what might need to be done.
CPI - December 2000
The U.S. City Average all-items Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners & clerical workers (CPI-W) on a 1982-84=100 base for December 2000 is 170.7. (On a 1967=100 base, the December index is 508.5.) This is a 0.1% decrease from one month ago, and a 3.4% increase from a year ago.
A college to meet your needs
Want to start or finish your degree, but can't find the courses offered when you need them?
Looking for a college that truly meets the needs of the working adult?
Interested in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, or a PE review course?
Henry Cogswell College will host an Engineering & Science Visit Day on Saturday, February 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Peed Hall, 3002 Colby Ave. Everett, WA. The Engineering & Science Visit Day is an opportunity for interested students to meet the Dean, Admissions staff, current students, and tour the College. Representatives from their ACM, IEEE, and ASME chapters will be available to answer questions about their programs.
For more information, please contact the Office of Admissions at (425) 258-3351 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A map, driving directions, and additional information are available at www.henrycogswell.edu.
Boeing retirement plan review
Scott Fife, with Securities America Inc. is offering a free retirement planning workshop. Topics... Who is pension eligible? Should you take the Accelerated Income Pension Option? How do you get the most from your VIP? When is the best time to retire? How do you generate penalty free income before 59??
For reservations, please call Shelley at (253) 333-1435.
Planning to retire? Financial steps for today
Retirement means many different things to different people. Prepare for your life after work by learning about:
Tips for reducing
taxes ... Selecting the right investments for you ... Making better use
of your Social Security benefits ... Protecting your assets and income
from unexpected events ... Smart ways to access your funds after retirement.
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Building, Room 550
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
18000 Andover Park West, Ste 103
Attendance will be limited to 15. RSVP to (425) 637-8363, ext. 221 or 209.
Family care resources
As a service to employees, The Boeing Company contracts with Family Care Resources to assist employees when work, family, or personal difficulties arise; and to offer helpful advice for family and personal activities.
They can help with: child-care, elder-care, adoption, college info, single- or step-parenting, family relocation issues, guidance and discipline, workplace issues, legal issues, balancing work and family, special needs, prenatal, coping with change, and more.
Volunteer judges needed for PLU's Science Fair
Pacific Lutheran University is again seeking volunteer judges to help out with their annual South Sound Regional Science Fair. The fair will be held on Saturday, March 17th at the Olson Auditorium on the PLU campus in Tacoma. Judges' orientation starts at 8:00 a.m., judging will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and an awards ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m.
Hundreds of 6th through 12th grade students participate in this event, which promotes excellence in math and science student-based research in the school districts of Pierce and Thurston Counties.
Last year, SPEEA provided the greatest turnout of volunteers. If you'd like to help with this year's fair, please contact Marge Halstead, fair director, at (253) 535-8456 or email email@example.com
Winners of this event are then sent to the International Fair. It requires ~ $2,000 to send each person to the International Fair, so contributions are welcome. You can mail checks (payable to "Pacific Lutheran University - SSRSF") to: Margery C. Halstead, Director, South Sound Regional Science Fair, School of Education, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA 98447-0003.
Want to serve on the Selection Committee for the Stephen Pezzini H.O.P.E. Award?
We will soon be soliciting nominations for this year's "Stephen Pezzini Helping Other People Excel (H.O.P.E.) Award". This award was established to recognize a current member of a SPEEA bargaining unit who "volunteers time and effort to benefit their community, as well as being active in their union-a person who excels beyond expectations."
If you would like to serve on the committee that will review applications and select this year's award recipient, please contact Robbi at (206) 433-0995, ext. 126.
Correction to retirement calculation
Thanks to Bob Weiss' group in Everett for spotting the error in our "alternate benefit" retirement calculation in the January 12th newsletter. In the "examples" chart where Final Average Earnings equaled $65,000, the alternate benefit formula should have read:
0.01025 x $65,000 x 25.0 x 0.90 + 0.0045 x ($65,000 - $37,212) x 25.0 x 0.75 = $17,335.24 per year or $1,444.60 per month.