March 30, 2001 Newsletter #1828
Boeing's announcement to move its Corporate Headquarters out of Seattle drew strong reactions from SPEEA leaders Wednesday, March 21st.
SPEEA President Craig Buckham and Executive Director Charles Bofferding were informed of the announcement just minutes before Boeing Chairman Phil Condit started a press conference in Washington, D.C.
Boeing said three other cities - Dallas, Denver and Chicago - are being considered as possible locations for the new headquarters.
SPEEA has requested a meeting with Boeing officials to gather more information about the proposed move. While the Company estimates the move could involve about 500 employees, it is unlikely that many, if any, are within a SPEEA bargaining unit.
"At a time when the Company should be narrowing the gap between management and employees, this move seems aimed at widening the gap," said Buckham. "It's interesting to note that none of the cities mentioned are home to a major Boeing facility."
As with all corporate decisions, the actual impact of moving corporate headquarters out of Seattle will depend on how it is handled and the direction the Company takes after the move. The Company said along with the move that Alan Mulally, Jerry Daniels and Jim Albaugh would be elevated to the positions of President and CEO of their respective products.
"We hope this means the new CEO's will be given a freer hand when making decisions that affect their companies and employees," Bofferding said.
SPEEA leaders are still deeply concerned about the continued overemphasis by Boeing leaders of "shareholder value." While not downplaying its importance, Buckham and Bofferding said shareholder value should not overshadow the need to develop and manufacture the best products, and work to attract and keep the best employees.
"In the long run, engaging employees to develop products that meet the needs of the customers is what guarantees shareholder value," Buckham said. "It doesn't work the other way around."
SPEEA Headquarters was flooded with calls from local and national media. Calls started even before Condit ended his press conference. The attention is a clear sign the public recognizes the importance and influence of the technical workers and their union.
"The grass may be greener on the other side, Mr. Condit, but only if you take all the fertilizer you're spreading with you."
-- Quote from
Avoiding loss of excess vacation credits
We verified with Boeing that SPEEA-represented employees who use vacation during the week beginning April 6th and ending April 12th can avoid a vacation loss following the April 5th automatic payout computation of excess vacation. Under the new system, vacation accrual is computed weekly beginning Fridays and ending Thursdays (like pay weeks). Thursday April 5th marks the end of a 1-year transition period designed to help employees avoid vacation loss by allowing payouts. The April 12th weekly vacation award computations will be the first risk of vacation loss under the new system. Every Thursday thereafter, employees at the 2-year maximum carryover limit will "lose" additional vacation awards.
Notes from the Executive
By now most people are aware the International Association of Machinists (IAM) filed for an election to determine if non-represented employees (NSP) in the Puget Sound region want to be part of the Machinists' union.
Both SPEEA and the IAM have been exploring organizing the NSP employees in the Puget Sound region. While it only takes signatures from 30% of a targeted group to force a representation election by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), organizing campaigns generally want to secure signatures from at least 60% of the targeted group. To date, we are unsure how many signatures the IAM has collected.
However, regardless of the number of signatures secured by the IAM, we wish the Machinists well in their efforts to win the representation election. The most important thing for the NSP employees is to have the union of their choice. Holding a fair vote will allow these employees to make a decision regarding IAM representation.
If the NSP employees choose the IAM as their representative, we will do everything to help them achieve their goals. If they do not choose the IAM, we will reserve the future right to organize this group or sections of it as the people desire.
Different organizing styles
SPEEA and the IAM use different techniques to gather signatures:
SPEEA relies on individuals within the targeted group to help gather signatures and eventually run the organizing campaign. SPEEA staff supports this effort. This helps build the structure that will, with a successful representation election, be certified as a new bargaining unit. The process demonstrates that personal involvement is the key to success (both in organizing and in future endeavors).
The IAM uses a "blitz" campaign, which utilizes existing union members and many union staff organizers. Teams of signature gatherers fan out into the workplace soliciting employees to sign organizing petitions. Organizers from the International union run the campaign.
The fact is that this technique has worked. The IAM campaign has resulted in the attainment of signatures from at least 30% of their targeted NSP bargaining unit. This allows them to move to a vote.
SPEEA's campaign has not yet secured as many signatures as we'd like to have before filing for an election. Therefore, we are not prepared to match the IAM's call for a representation election.
Work with the IAM to best define appropriate bargaining units
We are very interested in how the bargaining unit or units are defined. Unit definition affects the probability for success in both organizing and subsequent negotiations. It is a very important part of the process.
If all non-represented employees are put into one bargaining unit, it will be nearly impossible to get that group to a successful vote. It is true that we managed to do so in Wichita, but that was a unique situation and a total group of about 4,000. The NSP group is much larger, somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 employees.
There are sub-groups within the larger NSP group that would naturally desire representation by differing unions. Placing all employees into one bargaining unit may force some people to vote "no" for one union when they might vote "yes" for another. Also, there may be groups that do not want union representation at all. These groups are "no" votes in any campaign.
Large units with distinct populations are susceptible to being played off each other in contract negotiations. As an example, one group may want all new money distributed as general wage increases (GWI) while others may want some money reserved for selective wage increases. The Company can use this to undermine the entire group's solidarity.
Additionally, the recent conversion to SJC has put some people into "non-represented" job codes that we feel are appropriately represented by SPEEA. We are currently working to resolve these issues. These people are not available for placement in a new unit.
We share the AFL-CIO's goal to increase union density in the United States. One way to do this is to define bargaining units appropriately to maximize the probability that people will vote for union representation and achieve the best contracts possible.
Establishing appropriate bargaining units is critical to the long-term organizing success for non-represented Boeing employees. SPEEA will work with the IAM and the AFL-CIO to see the best definition possible.
Stand with the IAM to denounce Boeing's anti-union tactics
Boeing's position on unions is "Where we have them we'll work with them and where we don't have unions we will oppose them." This is an old-school view that is counter-productive. Companies and unions can and should work together to make things better for everyone.
Instead of allowing employees to form appropriate unions, Boeing continues to bring in anti-union lawyers to mount anti-union campaigns. In the process, the Company alienates employees and undermines upper management's credibility (and increases the number of people desiring representation). The Company gets lost in the short-term goal of defeating the employees who want a union, and poisons the well for all employee relations.
We will stand with the IAM to denounce anti-union tactics. Employees should be able to make informed decisions about union representation without the fear-mongering and hype that Boeing's anti-union tactics generate.
Help employees form the unions they want
The real goal is not whether the IAM or SPEEA will represent the NSP population. The real goal is to help Boeing employees form the unions they want.
Strong unions have the active support and involvement of the people they represent. This is best attained when people are in unions that work for them. There aren't good and bad unions, but there are good and bad fits. Every union has its own culture. Most employee groups do too. The best fit is when the union and the people match. This includes the culture of the majority of people already in the union that a prospective bargaining unit is considering joining.
Over 30% of the people in the group the IAM is hoping to organize have signed cards requesting union representation. That's a strong sign a significant number of them think the IAM is a good fit. That sign is good enough for SPEEA to lend our support to the people who want a vote.
We look forward to working
with the IAM and the AFL-CIO to help every employee at Boeing get the
union representation they want and deserve.
Executive Board election results
On March 14, 2001, the SPEEA Tellers Committee met to count ballots in the annual SPEEA Executive Board election. The results of the balloting are shown below:
Congratulations to the winners! The Presidents term is for one year (to get back on the schedule for balloting in even-numbered years). The Vice Presidents terms will run for two years. Those newly-elected board members take office on Wednesday, March 28th.
Thank you to all who ran in this election. And thanks to those who took time to vote!
Process has begun to develop new vision and goals for SPEEA
On Friday, March 16, 2001, SPEEA volunteers and staff, including representatives from Wichita and Irving, spent the day reviewing our union's Vision, Mission Statement, and Goals.
The annual exercise seemed even more important this year, since a review of past years' goals showed that many have been met. We have achieved Agency Fee, we have expanded our affiliation, our membership percentages are up, nearly every elected position within SPEEA is filled.
Participants included Executive Board members: Craig Buckham, Alan Rice, Jerry Robinson, Richard Taylor, John McLaren, Tom McCarty and Doug Ritter (from Wichita) ... NW Council Officers: Pat Waters, Jimmie Mathis, Ron Mathes and Sharon Moats ... Midwest Council Officers (from Wichita): Hoyt Hillman, Linda Newell and John Poettker ... Irving Tellers Committee member Kathy Davis ... and Staff members: Robbi Alberts, Laura Anderson, Bill Dugovich, Kristin Farr, Dick Goyt and Maria Nelson.
Our challenge at this gathering was to develop exciting, powerful, gripping, and accurate, but brief language to express our thoughts. Words that kept popping up included: premier union for technical workers ... respected advocate...intellectual pioneers... inspiration... engaging our membership ... unity ... moral compass ... partnering to shape a shared destiny.
The plan is to have the SPEEA Council members polish the draft material developed at this meeting, and prioritize goals during our national convention in June 2001. The Council will see the draft results soon and are encouraged to help in suggesting changes.
Hartley helped with field repairs
Past SPEEA President Dan Hartley wasn't mentioned by name in the editorial that ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on March 20, but he was involved.
Hartley, a current Area Representative and former Council Representative, Executive Board member and SPEEA President, was a Boeing representative on the team that worked to get Boeing Field put back together after the February 28 earthquake.
The team worked night and day. Investigation of the earthquake damage found two-inch wide cracks on the main runway and potholes and sinkholes scattered around the field. Initial estimates said repairs could take up to three months. The work was completed and the airport was back in full operation in less than three weeks.
The P-I mentioned the construction company, airport manager, project manager, FAA, Sea-Tac Airport and The Boeing Company for their contributions to the effort. All of the praise was well deserved.
SPEEA would like to point out that among the individuals who played a key role was our own Dan Hartley. Thank you, Dan, for a job well done!
New officers appointed for IFPTE
Greg Junemann has been appointed as President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), effective March 2nd. He succeeds Paul Almeida who accepted an appointment as President of the AFL-CIO's Department for Professional Employees (DPE).
Greg originally joined IFPTE in 1978 as a member of Local 92 while employed by the Ladish Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he worked as a Senior Cost Estimator and Project Planner. While in Local 92, he served as newsletter editor, steward, Bargaining Committee chairperson, Vice President and finally as President. He developed an internal recruitment program within his Local, which has since evolved into the international's "Extend the Invitation" organizing training manual, and is utilized by the AFL-CIO's George Meany Center for Labor Studies for its Internal Organizing course.
Greg was elected Midwest Area Vice President of IFPTE, serving from 1986 to 1994. During that period, he also served as Finance Committee chair and President of IFPTE's Central States Council. In 1994, he was elected to serve on the international staff as Secretary-Treasurer/Director of Organizing. Under his direction and leadership, IFPTE has organized and/or affiliated twenty-three new Local unions representing a significant increase in membership, up 71% from 1994. Greg worked with SPEEA in early 2000, helping coordinate the efforts of our 40-day strike. His talent and ability to organize elevated IFPTE's stature and recognition both nationally and internationally. In July 2000, he was re-elected to his third term in this office.
As President, Greg intends to remain active in organizing, doing everything he can to bring new members and new Locals into our Union.
The appointment of Greg as President left a vacancy in the other top IFPTE office. Also effective March 2nd, Dolores "Dee" Gorcyzca was appointed the first woman Secretary-Treasurer/Director of Organizing in IFPTE's history. Dee has been a member of IFPTE for 23 years, beginning her labor career with Local 195 as a Communications Operator with the state of New Jersey. She held several positions within the local, from shop steward to Chapter Vice President to Presidential Assistant. In recognition of her dedication and commitment to the Union, Dee was asked to join IFPTE's staff as an International Representative in April 1992.
As an International Representative, Dee has represented various local members during contract negotiations, arbitrations, grievances and disciplinary cases. Additionally, she developed and conducted training sessions in organizing, grievance handling, contract administration and labor/management relations. On a broader scale, Dee has assisted many of the Union's locals with internal organizing, to help build their membership. She is a fierce advocate for the advancement of women within the labor movement, and is active on several committees and councils. In 1999, Dee received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ.
Greg notes, "Dee's appointment to Secretary-Treasurer of IFPTE is a shining moment for our Union. She is one of the most talented and dedicated union leaders I've ever met. We are all looking forward to working with her to continue building our Union."
Congratulations, Greg & Dee!
New discounters approved for Wichita
The Executive Board has approved adding the following firms to the SPEEA Discount List. A revised SPEEA Discount List will be published in the April 2001 SPEEA SPOTLITE.
Hunkeler Eye Centers
(5520 College Blvd, Ste 200, Overland Park, KS) - 1-877-491-5400. SPEEA
members and spouses receive 20% off usual fees for: LASIK eye surgery
(tiered pricing: reg. $1995-2995; SPEEA members pay $1,596-$2,396.)
... or INTACS vision correction (flat fee: reg. $1,995; SPEEA members
Hammond, Zongker & Farris, L.L.C. (727 N. Waco, Ste 200, Wichita) - 316/262-6800. Emphasizes labor law, workers compensation claims. Free initial consultation by phone or in person. Free Workers Compensation Handbook.
Want to help with SPEEA's Picnic?
We are looking for volunteers for a variety of tasks related to the SPEEA Picnic. The more volunteers involved, the easier it will be for everyone. This year, we will hold the 2nd Annual SPEEA Solidarity Picnic on Saturday, July 28 at Woodland Park Shelter #3. We will need people to help with the following tasks:
If you would like to help the Membership Activities Committee with any of these tasks, please contact Robbi at (206) 433-0995, ext. 126, or email email@example.com. We will be holding our next committee meeting at SPEEA Headquarters on Monday, April 30 starting at 5:00 p.m. If you can attend that meeting, please let us know.
Attrition now stable after increase in 2000
Voluntary attrition (quits and retirements) during the year 2000 peaked in the summer at an annualized rate of just fewer than 20%. For the year, voluntary attrition in the three large bargaining units was 10.6% of Puget Sound Profs, 6.3% of Puget Sound Techs and 8% of Wichita Profs.
Historically, December is a
month of high retirement activity. Employees leaving the Company for reasons
other than retirement tend to increase in January. Figure 1 shows
voluntary terminations over the last 5 years. Recent information shows
that overall attrition during the first two months of 2001 retreated to
Attrition rates are influenced by many factors, but two external conditions have probably helped stabilize employment in the Boeing engineering community. First, stock prices fell. Second, the high-tech job market started to cool. Stock prices influence retirement decisions, and job offers outside Boeing may look less attractive and less secure to people considering career changes.
Market Salary Report
By Stan Sorscher, SPEEA Staff
Employee turnover, morale, and satisfaction depend on many factors, not the least of which is salary levels relative to "the market."
This begs several questions, such as:
The Engineering Workforce Commission collects salary data each year, and publishes tables summarizing their findings. The size of the survey has shrunk over time, but still includes complete data from participating employers around the country.
While Boeing does not participate in the EWC surveys, the information is valuable. Approximately 33,000 engineers were counted in the 2000 survey, including about 8,000 supervisors. Most participating companies are traditional manufacturers, along with some public-sector employers. The 1999 survey covered about 45,000 individuals. Survey data are collected during the summer of each year.
The EWC does not survey salaries for Technical employees. Generally, Tech salary levels correlate strongly to Professional salary levels, so trends in one group are usually reflected in the other.
2000 Survey Results
Figures 1-4 compare EWC survey data from the summer of 2000 to SPEEA-represented engineers as of March 2000 (just after last year's selective increases). Figure 1 is probably the most appropriate measure, sinceit excludes supervisors. Figures 2 & 3 present curves for manufacturers, and large employers (including supervisors). Figure 4 compares our salaries to Pacific coast results.
One caution about these results is that some 2000 EWC salary levels are actually lower than 1999 salaries for individuals with 7 or more years' experience. This could be a sampling issue, since participation in the survey is falling. In the time between the two EWC surveys, American industry experienced one of the hottest high-tech labor markets in recent history.
We used March 2000 demographics to estimate the size of a pool needed to match the EWC comparison market, in the cases shown in Figures 1-4. The pools were accumulated by adding up increases at each experience band, weighted by our populations in those bands. As of 3/3/00, the Prof payroll was about $800 million per year.
The figures illustrate some of the variation and complexity of market comparisons. Generally, Boeing salaries lag behind market data, particularly for new hires, and high percentile employees.
Table 1. Pool sizes to bring our demographics up to EWC curve levels.
Consumer Price Index - February 2001
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 February 2001 is 172.4. (On a
1967=100 base, the February index is 513.4.) This is a 0.4% increase
from the previous month, and a 3.5% increase from one year ago.
"Women on the Move" Forum
Thursday, May 3, 2001
SPEEA's Women's Advocacy Committee has scheduled their Fifth Annual "Women on the Move" forum - a panel event featuring successful women. This event has been very popular in past years; participants look forward to the varied backgrounds of our speakers.
This year's speakers are yet to be finalized, but will include experienced women who will share information about their success and advise attendees how to be successful. (Watch our website and future newsletters for speakers' names.)
ALL women (and men) who work at Boeing are invited to participate, but space is limited to the first 120 who sign up. The event is FREE to SPEEA members. We encourage nonmembers to attend for a nominal charge of $5 to help offset costs. (The $5 is refundable if you decide to join SPEEA.) Refreshments and social/networking will take place from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. The forum will run from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. If you are a member, you can register by e-mailing your name, clock number & work phone to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are NOT a member, you can send your $5 check (payable to "SPEEA") to: SPEEA WAC Forum, 15205 - 52nd Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98188.
DEADLINE for registration is Friday, April 20th. For information, call Robbi at (206) 433-0995, ext. 126.
A total of 498 employees previously represented by SPEEA have been rehired (includes recall from layoff) during the 14-month period January 2000 - February 2001. There were 252 Techs (247 in BCAG, 5 in SCAMP) ... 225 Puget Sound area Profs (206 in BCAG, 19 in SCAMP) ... and 21 Wichita Profs.
There are currently 191 laid off SPEEA-represented employees still on the recall roster who have filed for their 1st consideration right to be recalled. SPEEA continues to actively monitor their job classifications to assure their recall rights are being honored.
[New hire statistics were shown in last week's Newsletter.]