March 23, 2001 Newsletter #1827
At the March 8th Council meeting, Paul Shearon introduced two representatives from SCPEA* who had come up to visit with the SPEEA Council Reps to provide an update on the current situation in Southern California. Steve Weixel had been elected as a Board member, and Rich Devens had been elected Vice President; however, SCPEA's council overturned both appointments, and charges have since been filed with the Department of Labor and are pending.
Steve Weixel said all that SCPEA members are asking for is a choice of who to affiliate with. A previous survey showed SCPEA members' first choice was to affiliate with SPEEA. However, SCPEA leaders failed to include that choice on their recent ballot. Membership is now less than 30%, and falling every day. It was noted, in the midst of all this turmoil, they are in the middle of negotiations right now, to replace a five-year contract that expired March 4, 2001.
Rich Devens said it was nice to see a Council that all sits in the same room! It's been frustrating at SCPEA where groups meet privately, and even exclude their President sitting in on their discussions! SCPEA members found out last October they were being denied the ability to choose SPEEA for affiliation. Many of their engineers previously worked in Seattle and were represented by SPEEA, and their choice is clearly to affiliate with SPEEA. Unfortunately, a decertification petition has been filed. SPEEA has filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to appear as a choice on any representation ballot as a result of the decert.
Later in the meeting, SPEEA Council Reps voted overwhelmingly to confirm SPEEA's continued support of employees represented by SCPEA in their pursuit of SPEEA representation.
The SCPEA reps thanked SPEEA for all the support we have provided, and suggested we can log on their website http://www.scpea911.org for more information.
* SCPEA is the Southern California Professional Engineering Association which represents former McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) engineers in Long Beach and Huntington Beach, California.
March 2, 2001 salary charts
The salary charts associated with the March 2, 2001 Selective Salary Adjustment exercise will be available soon. As was done with the salary charts available in January (showing data following SJC conversion), the charts will be distributed electronically via the SPEEA web site. Watch for the announcement on the salary charts availability in a forthcoming Newsletter and on the SPEEA web site.
Protect your Personal Data
As with all of the data SPEEA distributes, we strive to balance a free flow of information with protecting personal data. Scatter plots, especially when one axis is a readily-determinable value such as age, service or industry experience, may make it relatively easy to determine the salary of a particular individual. Currently, only the Professional Unit "Salary versus Industry Experience" charts fall into this category.
If, in those cases, you'd rather your data point were NOT displayed, please e-mail to SPEEA at InvisibleDot@speea.org your name and clock number. While your data point will be omitted in the detailed display, you will be included in summary data or data displays that conceal personal identity.
Notes from the Executive
This is another one of those articles that is being written before the outcome is known. The question is "Will Boeing Wichita's negotiation team be allowed to work for a real partnership or forced into a fight that could hurt all of Boeing?"
Two Mondays ago, hundreds of people gathered at Boeing's flagpole in Wichita to send the message that the people have power and that they'd prefer to use that power in a partnership. They were also demanding the recognition and respect that full partners deserve. Without respect, there can be no partnership.
So will we have a partnership or a fight in Wichita?
We know what a fight is. What is a partnership? A partnership is a diverse group of people with varying perspectives on both their problems and their solutions who are committed to joint problem-solving to develop a solution that works best for the entire group.
In Wichita, we were working well together. We had worked hard to address Company issues of flexibility, competitiveness and productivity. Then corporate people threw down a ridiculous benefits offer. The worst thing about their offer was not its specifics; it was the tactic. It was clear that this would not be their final offer, it was clear that this was not what they thought employees deserve. If we are old-school adversaries, this type of tactic is expected. But if we are partners, this tactic is insulting and counterproductive.
My concern is that there are those within Boeing that support (and even demand) these types of tactics. These people miss the point and the power of a true partnership. When we interact as partners, great things can happen and everyone can win. Productivity goes up, profits go up and wages and benefits can go up too. However, a partnership is a fragile thing. If we are forced to be adversaries, everyone loses. Productivity goes down, profits go down and wages and benefits are threatened. SPEEA can be a very strong partner; we can be just as strong an adversary.
I'm a simple guy and I live in a simple world. In my world a partnership just makes sense. Rest assured that SPEEA will do everything possible to be a full partner with Boeing; we will also hold Boeing management accountable for old-school counterproductive tactics that strike at the heart of a real partnership.
The power of the people cannot be denied. The only question is whether we will be using our power to move Boeing forward in a positive way that benefits us all, or using it, once again, to send the message that employees are equals and deserve respect. By now we should already know the answer-I hope it's a good one.
Two more things:
This is not just a Wichita issue. What happens in Wichita will affect every SPEEA-represented employee and probably every other Boeing employee as well. This will be a test to see if Boeing HR will "stay the course" of their failed people strategy that segregates employees by their benefits packages. My hope is that they will finally begin treating all employees with respect, and begin to view benefits as a commitment to employees rather than simply as a cost to be cut. As always, the visible support and involvement of employees will be critical to our achievements.
FYI - the gap between us in
cost of benefit plans is less than $2 million a year-less than what losing
3 people a month would cost Boeing. In the Puget Sound strike, the Company
was trying to save $17 million in benefit costs and lost over $150 million
in attrition costs alone. Hopefully, we can learn from the past.
Council Highlights - March 8, 2001
MIDWEST REGIONAL COUNCIL MEETING
Newly-seated Council Rep James
Hatfield was introduced (District N-6 - Wichita, WTPU, 1-198D,
At his final meeting as Midwest Regional VP, Doug Ritter noted things have steadily improved at SPEEA-Wichita due to strong membership involvement; we must remember the membership really does matter.
In anticipation of a WTPU contract vote in the near future, the Midwest Regional Council passed a motion to post the contract offer on SPEEA's website for members to review, then hold an all-member meeting to share the negotiation team's recommendation and allow members to vote.
The Membership Recruitment committee reported they will begin manning tables in the Wichita cafeterias, providing an easy way for new members to sign up.
SPEEA COUNCIL MEETING
Hank Queen was the pre-meeting speaker, followed by Partnership activity reports (see related article).
The Council was reminded that federal law prohibits candidates for union office (and also non-candidates promoting other candidates) from utilizing union or company resources in the conduct of their election campaign [ref. LMRDA 29 USCA Section 481(g) and Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 29, Section 452.78].
Recently elected SCPEA board members Steve Weixel and Rich Devens attended the SPEEA Council meeting to share their experiences (see related article). The SPEEA Council voted overwhelmingly to confirm SPEEA's continued support of the employees represented by SCPEA in their pursuit of SPEEA representation.
Newly-seated Council Rep Judy Mogan was introduced (District A-50 - Auburn, Profs & Techs, 17-01, 17-05, 17-220 & 17-239 Buildings).
The SPEEA Council elected Wichita member David Palmer to fill the remaining 6-month term on the Judicial Review Committee (caused by the resignation of Bill Clogston, who transferred out of the SPEEA bargaining unit).
The SPEEA Council turned down a motion to allow the Council Chair the ability to determine whether to consider as unacceptable certain pre-submitted motions or motions from the floor, with no further action required.
The SPEEA Council voted to defer action on the SPEEA Budget for fiscal year April 2001 through March 2002, as prepared by the Executive Board, requesting additional details related to the estimated budget.
WTPU Negotiation Team chair Bob Brewer reported there is tentative agreement between the parties on quite a few articles and letters of understanding. The majority of outstanding issues are compensation or benefits related. Bob thanked SPEEA for its support, especially Charles Bofferding for his knowledge and expertise which have proven priceless throughout their negotiations in Wichita.
The SPEEA Council turned down a motion to submit a referendum to the membership to revise the Constitution, seeking to change the SPEEA dues formula multiplier from 0.85 to 0.65.
The SPEEA Council passed a motion to support legislation for employees to receive compensation while on approved family leave. The State of Washington is considering Family Leave insurance legislation, which will provide partial compensation for employees on Family leave [ref. SPEEA Newsletter No. 1817, 1/5/01].
The SPEEA Council passed a motion to continue to support full funding of the Export-Import Bank (retaining jobs for our members).
The SPEEA Council passed a motion to request data relative to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) international trade agreement, and promote inclusion of enforceable worker rights.
IFPTE Regional VP Craig Buckham reported the IFPTE Executive Committee has selected Greg Junemann to replace former IFPTE President Paul Almeida (who resigned to become President of the AFL-CIO's Department for Professional Employees). They also selected Dolores "Dee" Gorczyca (formerly an International Rep on IFPTE's field staff) to replace Greg as IFPTE Secretary/Treasurer. Congratulations Greg & Dee!
President Craig Buckham, on behalf of SPEEA, wished Wichita's WTPU Negotiation Team the best of luck in negotiating an equitable contract ... noted he supports the "high value" union (vs. "low cost" union) concept, and he is not in favor of a dues reduction ... thanked Treasurer Rich Taylor and staff Comptroller Jimmie Bergeron for their hard work in preparing the budget proposal ... and noted it is our job, through the Partnership efforts, to make sure our concerns are heard and addressed - we must convince the Company "working together" with the right union in the right way is a source of competitive advantage for the Company.
Treasurer Rich Taylor invited interested members to attend the Executive Board's Finance Committee meetings ... reported we are investigating with our auditor how best to report WTPU members' dues being paid by the Executive Board ... and noted SPEEA will be sending delegates to the Spring CESO meeting in April where they can contact legislators about issues acted on earlier this evening.
Over 1,000 new members have joined SPEEA since the first of this year. Thanks to the following who have recruited since last month's Council meeting: (4 new members) Lynda Maynard; (2 each) Peter Ormiston & Kevin Wescott; and (1 each) Mohammad A. Ali, Joe Asaif, Colin Callaghan, Alfredo Estrada, Dave Fenbert, Jennifer Fliger, David Horton, Arne Lewis, Dan McGowan, David Nguyen, Dave Pearson, Chuck Prochaska, Jean Ray, Laurel Reiff, Jayme Schmidt, Steve Spyridis, Kevin Waters, Bob Wentworth & Audrea Worthington.
Leadership Development & Training Committee chair Ron Mathes reported his committee will be surveying Council Reps on what they'd like to see included in this year's Leadership Conference ... and is recommending SPEEA sponsor another Robin Ryan seminar, targeting career growth within your current company or in a new one.
NORTHWEST REGIONAL COUNCIL MEETING
Council Rep Joel Funfar (SPEEA delegate to the King County Labor Council) reported Kaiser workers are in trouble again; their company has shut down because they make more money selling back unused electricity than staying open and paying their employees. SPEEA members are urged to contact U.S. Energy Secretary Spence Abraham (202/586-6210) protesting Kaiser's unfair treatment of workers.
Joel also reported the Newspaper Guild continues to have trouble with The Seattle Times. The paper is promoting replacement workers before they call back striking union members. There are still over 100 strikers who have not yet been recalled, and can use our support. Log onto http://www.nwguild.org for information.
The NW Regional Council passed a motion defining the Northwest "regional" committees (DER, Employee Diversity, Facilities, Governing Documents, Membership Activities, Membership Recruitment, Women's Advocacy and Ombudsman).
The NW Regional Council passed a motion granting an extension for the requirement to complete a training class for Council Reps Bob Boys and James Roberts (to a maximum four months following seating).
The NW Regional Council passed a motion to support the rally planned at Peace Arch Park in Blaine, WA on Saturday, April 21 from noon to 2:00 p.m. - the same day international reps will be meeting in Quebec to finalize FTAA negotiations.
The NW Regional Council passed a motion to support laws that enforce worker safety; and oppose efforts to repeal laws that protect workers on the job.
Everett Council Rep Chris Glenn encouraged members to participate in the Employee Community Fund's "Day of Caring" scheduled for Saturday, April 21.
Council Rep speaks out on proposed dues reduction
I personally feel that you get what you pay for, and that SPEEA is worth 0.85% of my hourly wage each month. This whole dues reduction effort is the result of a resolution passed by the SPEEA Council about five years ago that said they would put a referendum out to the membership if Agency Fee became a reality. I wasn't on the Council five years ago and neither were many of those on the Council today, and we don't feel obligated to follow a resolution passed by the Council in the pre-merger Boeing environment. I feel it is my duty to look at the conditions of today and decide what will make SPEEA what it needs to be NOW!
A lot has changed in the last five years. The membership chose to make SPEEA stronger by affiliating with IFPTE/AFL-CIO, which currently costs us $500,000 a year, and will cost us $1,000,000 in two years. There are a lot more issues to deal with now than there were before the merger, so the SPEEA staff has to be larger which takes more money. I feel that this is a bad time to reduce SPEEA's efforts so I have voted against the referendum each time it has been brought before the Council.
I don't get paid by SPEEA so I don't vote that way because it will take money out of my pocket. I vote that way because I like the SPEEA we have now better than the SPEEA we had five years ago. I don't want SPEEA to take any steps back into the past, and cutting the budget from $5.9 million down to $4.3 million would result in a lot of steps backward in my opinion. The pre-strike/pre-affiliation 2000/2001 budget was $4 million. Negotiations for the 2003, 2004 & 2005 contract will be starting in 18 months! We know what bargaining with post-merger management is like now, and we can't afford to be caught with our guard down. Saving toward the expenses that another strike would cause is essential to our strength as a union.
/s/ Paul Bowman
Hank Queen addresses SPEEA Council Reps
For the March 8th Council pre-meeting, Hank Queen (BCAG, VP Engineering, Product Integrity, Define Process) discussed "BCAG's Vision & Strategy". Hank, who's from West Virginia and hired on with Boeing in January of 1975, said he spent half his career working the "customer" side of the house. He introduced Wayne Brown (an engineer) who just joined his team as their People representative.
Hank reviewed BCAG's goals: preferred by our customer ... be in the top 5 in best-rated companies by our employees ... loved by our investors ... and being a good neighbor. He noted that Boeing may be in the business to make money, but there needs to be a balance. We need to maintain a healthy core business ... there must be a commitment to safety ... and we must improve our processes (simple, clear, efficient, robust and common).
Hank referred to last year's "major disasters". One was the "People" issue - employees are dissatisfied (don't understand company's vision, feel they aren't fairly compensated) and the business performance is at risk (with loss of critical skills and sustained attrition). Also, more than 10% of the engineering workforce consists of contract employees, and Hank doesn't feel that's what we want.
Hank said what we do want is to create an environment at Boeing to allow us to become the most effective engineering team in the world. We need to address job dissatisfaction and under-utilization issues, ensure fair compensation, create additional internal capacity, and invest in our people and our future.
He talked about "offload" being part of the plan, but stressed the need to determine what can we let go and what must we keep in the Company. We can move less complex work to outside design sources, but we need to set boundaries and provide direction.
Hank is enthusiastic about (and actively involved in) the Partnership with SPEEA that is being developed in a number of areas. He is hopeful that we can turn around employee dissatisfaction.
Following Hank's discussion, several SPEEA members who are active in Partnership activities spoke about their involvement:
Area Rep John Bembers introduced his manager Cynthia Corrigan to explain what is going on in their Cabin Systems group in Everett. Cynthia said she began to tackle the employee dissatisfaction issue last June by calling together her leads. She asked them "What are the top three things, within our control, which if changed would fundamentally improve our business and morale?" She continued these discussions with the leads, later including local managers and interested employees. Her team has now developed an action plan and is seeking to implement it. Their goal is to allow employees to make meaningful contributions, seeking their input ... provide two-way communication ... allow recognition & rewards for efficiency and performance ... and promote growth and development (enabling employees to apply their talent).
Next, Renton Council Rep Vicki Harp and Area Rep Roni Schaffer talked about their activities in Customer Engineering's Buyer Furnished Equipment (BFE) group. To address some of the problems they had been facing (i.e., low morale, loss of valuable skills/knowledge, unmanageable work-load, underutilization, and unable to meet a Management request for cross-training), they brought together a team to review the problems, brainstorm ideas, gather information and develop a plan. They presented their plan to management and were successful in adding one employee to their group. This cut down the overtime, provided opportunities for cross-training, and improved morale.
Later in the meeting, Council Rep Paul Morin (Facilities/SHEA) spoke about his attempt to set up a Partnership Team in the SHEA organization. He had been successful in setting up a Facilities team, noting their latest Facilities partnership meeting found them all under the tables seeking protection during the earthquake! Due to busy schedules and logistics (the SHEA community is located throughout Puget Sound), it has been a bit of a challenge to generate a similar momentum in the SHEA community. However, the SHEA group has begun preparing its list of issues (e.g., merits, retentioning, training budget, telecommuting, and travel budget). Paul plans to hold meetings among SHEA engineers at the various plants in an attempt to gain more involvement in the process. He encouraged other Council Reps to be persistent in setting up these Partnership activities in their own organizations. He also recommended that Council Reps should attempt to involve management in these efforts early in the process.
Report to members - Washington Lobby Day 2001
By Kristin Farr, Staff legislative focal
On February 23rd in Olympia, WA, Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) President Rick Bender gave an overview of the 2001 Legislative Session to date, and Robby Stern (Special Assistant to the President), Jeff Johnson (Research Director) and Randy Loomans (Education Director) gave a review of specific bills that WSLC delegates should be aware of and take action on. Some of the bills addressed were: prescription drugs ... creating an "employer of record" for home health care workers (which in turn gives them the ability to organize) ... unemployment benefits for victims of domestic violence ... corporate subsidy disclosure ... collective bargaining rights for state employees ... funding for transportation ... and regulatory reform.
Governor Gary Locke vowed to work hard to keep unions strong, and thanked the WSLC for the success of the programs they have worked with him. The Governor stated this is the fourth year he's worked on a collective bargaining bill for state employees; but in order for this to pass, the ties in the House need to be broken. He stated he was proud to stand with labor to fight for ergonomic rules and he'll fight any further delays in the implementation of these rules. The Governor then pointed out that taking action on transportation issues is about saving jobs, and that Democrats and Republicans must show bi-partisan support for projects that will alleviate the growing traffic and transportation problems. Lastly, Governor Locke stated that, when the time comes, he needs our help in studying the budget.
Senators and House members of the Washington State Legislature then addressed the delegation. The overall theme was that there will be few gains for workers out of this session, and we need to be prepared to have a lot of time wasted. Representative Steve Conway (D-Dist. 29), Co-Democratic Chair of the House Commerce and Labor Committee (and member of UFCW Local 81), spoke about protecting the gains made in last year's session for ergonomics rules, as well as unemployment insurance for part-time workers. Representative Conway also stated a huge problem is coming up: transportation and the general budget. He stated that the building and trade unions need to mobilize quickly to fight attacks on the budget. Representative Jim Clements (R-Dist. 14), Co-Republican Chair of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, stated he was concerned about the energy and power crisis, and wants to work with labor to create more jobs for Washington State. Representative Karen Keiser (D-Dist. 33) gave a brief rundown on the status of Family Leave Insurance (HB 1520, SB 5420), a new insurance program for working families that would cost both the employee and employer about 1 cent per hour, or $20/year. (Note: See the January 5, 2001 SPEEA Newsletter #1817 for more details). Her office has polled citizens, and found out that 3 out of 4 Washington citizens support family leave insurance. Democratic Co-Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (D-Dist.43) spoke on saving the prevailing wage and the need to pass taxes for transportation projects. He asserted that because of the work of Labor, Washington has the best worker retraining program, best minimum wage in the nation, and best patient bill of rights. He hopes that soon, Washington will have the best family leave insurance in the nation. Senator Margarita Prentice (D-Dist 11), Chair of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Financial Institutions Committee, stated she is pleased with the input she receives in her weekly meetings with labor leaders. She stated that when she was first appointed as Chair of the Committee, she was approached by businesses that wanted to delay the ergonomics regulations, however, she told them she would not contemplate weakening the starting date. She also stated that the State employees collective bargaining bill has moved out of the Rules Committee and will be on the Senate floor soon. Finally, Senate Majority Whip Tracey Eide (D-Dist 30) spoke on the budget, transportation, and the need to help the Senate pass collective bargaining rights for state employees by talking to the House. Also in attendance were Washington State Insurance Commissioner Michael Kreidler, and the Director of Labor and Industries Gary Moore.
The SPEEA delegation finished the day by going to the state capitol campus. They spoke with legislators and attended House Commerce and Labor Committee hearings.
The SPEEA delegates enjoyed meeting other WSLC brothers and sisters, especially those from the IAM Local 751.
ATTENDEES: Craig Buckham, Alan Rice, Jerry Robinson, Richard Taylor, John McLaren, Tom McCarty, and Pat Waters (Council Chair)
GUESTS: Ron Mathes, Kevin Wescott
The President congratulated newly-elected Executive Board Member Ron Mathes and re-elected NW Region Vice Presidents Alan Rice and Thomas McCarty. (Newly-elected Midwest Region VP was not available.)
The Executive Board approved the following:
* Sending three SPEEA members to receive training from the King County Labor Council in March.
* Adding windows to two offices.
* Submitting, as soon as possible, an amended budget plan to the SPEEA Council, including detailed explanations.
* To increase the Area Rep lunchtime meeting budget to $5.00 per Area Rep with a maximum of $60.00 per meeting, per quarter.
Reports were heard from the President, Treasurer, Secretary and Council Chair.
The Executive Board thanked board members John McLaren and Doug Ritter for their past service.
New hire activity in SPEEA bargaining units
The pace of hiring at The Boeing Company has accelerated recently. The following data refers to new hires only - not including rehires or recalls from layoff (watch for those next week). The Company hired 126 new SPEEA-represented engineers between December 1, 2000 and February 22, 2001. This compares with 128 new engineer hires during the previous 11 months (from January 2000 through November 2000). That brings the total new hire engineers since January 2000 to 254.
In the SPEEA Technical Unit, 114 new employees were hired between December 1, 2000 and February 22, 2001. This compares with 77 new hires during the previous 11 months (from January 2000 through November 2000). Total Techs hired since January 2000 is 191.
The tables below summarize new hire salaries for those hired in the last three months. The data we receive does not indicate an employee's prior experience, but age or level can serve as an approximate surrogate. The tables show the number of employees hired in the indicated categories and salary brackets.
SPEEA represented new-hire
engineers by AGE
Unit new-hires by level - all BCAG
Help from Labor to those affected by earthquake
Bellevue SPEEA Council Rep Joe Gregg reports, when FEMA declares a federal disaster area (like they did in the Puget Sound area following the February 28th earthquake), employees have the following rights: Unemployment aid starts immediately to those unemployed by disaster damage, and they also may be eligible for assistance in housing costs (rent or mortgage). This applies for involuntary unemployment as in the case of those who cannot return to work because their child-care is unavailable. Joe notes this is available anywhere in the country when a disaster is declared.
Joe also reports there is a service available from the King County Labor Council to dependent spouses to go to school if the working spouse dies or is incapacitated.
Auburn Council Rep Judy Mogan reports that the AFL-CIO has opened an office in Kent (253/946-7009) to address disaster-caused physical and mental health needs for union members who have been affected by the earthquake. This is being done in conjunction with the Red Cross.
Want to be involed?
SPEEA is now forming the Negotiation Preparation Committee that will begin preparations for SPEEA's Puget Sound area Prof and Tech contract negotiations. Our contracts expire in December 2002. The Negotiation Team will be selected early next year. The Negotiation Prep Committee will be tasked with collecting data to hand over to the negotiation team once selected. This data collection includes surveying the members, leadership and staff.
If you'd like to be involved in this effort, please contact Robbi Alberts at SPEEA on (206) 433-0995, ext. 126 - or email email@example.com. Once the committee is formed, a kickoff meeting date will be set.
Ed Wells offers book
Ed Wells staff member Dean
Tudor brought to the SPEEA Council meeting a supply of the book "Terms
of Engagement - Changing the Way we Change Organizations" by Richard
H. Axelrod. Mr. Axelrod offers a new management paradigm - the engagement
paradigm - to replace the old idea of increased bureaucracy which produces
cynicism, resistance, and resentment. His engagement model provides leaders
with a practical, principle-based strategy for creating successful change
outcomes. He encouraged anyone interested in reading the book to take
a copy for themselves, compliments of the Ed Wells Initiative.