April 20, 2001 Newsletter #1831
Prior to the regular SPEEA
Council meeting on April 12th, Dave Swain (Boeing Senior VP, Engineering
& Technology, Chief Technology Officer) talked about "People, Technology
and the Future" as it relates to Boeing. He covered the
The "Boeing Growth Strategy" plan includes establishing an Innovative Environment (transitioning technologies, emphasis on patents, venture capital investments, organized relationship with colleges & universities, integrated plan, and seamless tools and processes). The Chairman's Innovation Initiative has been formed, allowing innovators another path to promote their ideas.
Dave explained that the role of the Phantom Works organization is to be a catalyst for innovation among all the Boeing business units, in order to derive full value out of the Company. Technology must be shared company-wide, connecting employees and learning from one another, capitalizing on our lessons-learned. The goal is to deliver value, transition technology to new programs, generate revenues and earnings out of intellectual property, and improve quality, cycle time, and affordability of our products.
Dave covered some of the new products under development at Boeing, encouraging engineers to pioneer new frontiers. He agreed the Company could do a better job of connecting people to learn from one another, and assuring people are given challenging assignments.
Questions from the floor covered such topics as mentoring programs, sufficient budget to assure people can connect, improving opportunities for innovation, the future of Phantom Works, R&D budgets, including SPEEA as a true partner, the adversarial relationship between Boeing's "People" people and engineers (causing a cynicism that defeats the purpose of engagement activities), and the "risk" of failure. He concluded that the Company needs people working at jobs they like. Connecting people across the organizations, in the right environments, and with the right investments will assure higher productivity and better quality products.
Negotiation Prep Committee to hold kickoff meeting
The Negotiation Preparation Committee for the Puget Sound contracts will hold its kickoff meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 2001 at 5:00 p.m. at SPEEA Headquarters. The Negotiation Team will be selected in early 2002. This "preparation" committee is 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 (206) 433-0995, ext. 126 and plan to attend our kickoff meeting.
Notes from the Executive
By now we should know that Boeing will be charging medical premiums for the Traditional Medical Plan. This is bad news for employees and the Company.
A little background
Many union contracts allow Boeing to charge limited premiums for the Traditional Medical Plan (TMP) if the actual costs of covered employees goes up faster than the CPI for medical costs. While we've flirted with this provision in the past, it has not kicked in. It has this time, and our contracts limit the premiums to $10/month for individual coverage, $20 for employee & spouse or employee & child, and $30 for employee & family. The calculations would have yielded slightly larger increases but our contracts protected us from bigger increases. This calculation is a "running total" and we could be out of premiums next year if our actual costs decline relative to the CPI for medical costs.
Over half of represented employees are in the Traditional Medical Plan. If you expect to be needing medical coverage, it is a good plan to be in. However, if you think you'll be healthy, other plans may be a better fit. As healthy employees leave the plan, the use goes up.
Why did our use exceed the national medical CPI? The first thing that comes to mind is rising pharmaceutical costs. However, these have gone up for the entire country. My belief is that the real reason was given in the population charts in a recent newsletter. Boeing's population is aging, and we are not replacing younger employees. This means that medical rates go up while our long-term prospects go down. As I said last week - I believe in Boeing employees, but frankly we need more of them more evenly distributed across experience ranges.
So raising TMP premiums are
bad for both the employees who have to pay them and the Company that is
having its workforce eroded by the failure to replace employees in ranges
that would help to keep premiums down. Looks like another challenge.
WTPU negotiators return to the table
WICHITA, KS - Negotiators for The Boeing Company and the Wichita Technical and Professional Unit returned to the bargaining table on Tuesday, April 17, in an attempt to reach agreement on an initial three-year contract.
With 4,200 members in Wichita, the WTPU is SPEEA's and the Company's newest bargaining unit. Members rejected the Company's first contract proposal last month.
Polling by the Wilson Research Center for SPEEA showed that members' top three issues are a need for more guaranteed money, inclusion in the Company's Employee Incentive Plan (EIP) and a company-funded disability insurance plan.
There is no time-line for the resumed talks. The top three issues were confirmed in an informal survey of employee e-mails.
Membership in the bargaining unit continues to grow. Recent figures show that more than 55% of the employees included in the bargaining unit have signed cards to become regular SPEEA members. New members are not being assessed dues until a contract agreement is reached.
Members are encouraged to keep up on the talks by visiting the SPEEA website at www.speea.org. In addition, members can help secure a better contract by wearing buttons and displaying desk tents in the workplace. Council and Area Representatives can provide the visibility items. Members can also pick up their own items at the SPEEA Wichita office at 973 S. Glendale.
Council Highlights - April 12, 2001
Midwest Regional Council
A WTPU negotiations update was provided by team member Steve Smith, who explained the team's use of a strike authorization vote.
Shane Michael reported that the Wichita Engineering Unit's Joint Oversight Committee met to discuss LOUs and prepare to give the Company suggested solutions for joint concerns.
The Midwest Regional Council voted to continue weekly lunchtime flagpole rallies, starting April 24, every Tuesday until a contract is signed.
Pre-meeting speaker was Dave Swain, Boeing Chief Technology Officer and Senior VP, Engineering & Technology (see related article).
Paul Zieske, the new SPEEA Co-Director for the Ed Wells Initiative, was introduced. He told the Council he is seeking their input on ways to improve and better communicate the services offered by the Ed Wells Initiative.
The "revised" proposed SPEEA budget for fiscal year April 2001 through March 2002 was approved by the Council in a roll-call vote [go here for roll-call vote results]. The Council also requested future budget proposals utilize the format of laying out and explaining budget line items.
The SPEEA Council passed a motion to support petitioning our lawmakers to fully fund the modernization of our defense forces, to provide sufficient funding for current and future R&D programs, and provide adequate pay for members of our armed forces.
The SPEEA Council passed a motion supporting our public-sector CESO delegates in opposing privatization of transportation and other vital public services as being contrary to the best interests of all concerned.
The SPEEA Council voted unanimously to SUPPORT Boeing Shareholder Proposal #7 to allow employees a choice between the old Boeing (Heritage) pension plans or the current Pension Value cash-balance plan, at the time of termination or retirement.
The SPEEA Council also provided the following "advisory recommendations" for the remaining shareholder proposals:
#1 - Election of directors - Oppose
#2 - Offsets in military contracts - Support
#3 - Military activities in space - Support
#4 - Linking executive compensation to social performance - Support
#5 - Simple majority votes - Support
#6 - Annual election of entire board of directors - Support
#8 - Audit committee members - Support
#9 - Limits on stock options - Support
Northwest Regional Council
Judy Campbell encouraged Council Reps to attend the upcoming 5th annual "Women on the Move Forum" sponsored by the Women's Advocacy Committee.
Staff member Robbi Alberts reinforced SPEEA's support of the Employees Community Fund and encouraged SPEEA leaders to serve as Boosters in the upcoming ECF campaign. She polled how many had been ECF members for 20 or more years, and handed out some visibility items. She reported this year's campaign will be raffling off Mariners tickets for the June 6th game against the Texas Rangers, in conjunction with campaign celebration events.
The NW Regional Council elected Bob Schellhase to fill the vacancy on the NW Regional Tellers Committee.
The NW Regional Council passed a motion to support the UFCW grocery-store workers and meatpackers (Locals 44, 81, 367, 381 & 1105) in their efforts to gain a fair and equitable contract from the major food chains in our area.
The NW Regional Council voted to extend limits on training requirements for two Council Reps, James Roberts and Bob Boys.
IFPTE's Executive Committee will be holding a facilitated discussion next month on strategic planning. IFPTE locals in Hawaii are currently involved in the largest active strike in the country.
Executive Director Charles Bofferding reported the Wichita Technical & Professional Unit (WTPU) members rejected their initial contract offer. A survey has determined the top issues are: short & long term disability; bonus/EIP; increased GWI's; waiver of $100 medical co-pay for spouses who work part-time; Company-sponsored supplemental life insurance; first year of premiums; and timing of effective date for new benefits. A well-attended rally was conducted earlier this week, and the teams are headed back to the table on Tuesday, April 17th.
Following months of correspondence with our members over Agency Fee, Charles said a "final" list (containing 22 names of employees who have chosen not to comply) has been handed over to the Company to enforce compliance with the contract. SPEEA will also be contacting employees who chose the Beck Objector option, but have failed to pay a fee. Any questions related to compliance with this Agency Fee requirement should be directed to SPEEA General Counsel Phyllis Rogers.
Regarding organizing the nonrepresented employees in Puget Sound, Charles noted SPEEA's goal is for everyone to be represented. Our methods involve "helping" employees organize themselves - it's not something SPEEA does "to" them. A core group needs to step forward to make it work, as happened in Wichita. SPEEA has withdrawn our Unit Clarification petition as we felt it would only delay a representation election for the IAM.
President Craig Buckham congratulated the re-elected and newly-elected SPEEA Executive Board members (Tom McCarty, Alan Rice, Ron Mathes & Joe Newberry) ... Wichita Board member Joe Newberry has been appointed to the Ed Wells Policy Board ... SPEEA has been reacting to press calls regarding the various announcements Boeing has made over the past few weeks (i.e., moving Corporate, building a new Sonic Cruiser, and moving 757 fuselage work to Wichita and Italy) ... SPEEA will be sending delegates to the CESO meeting in Washington, DC later in April ... Craig will be meeting with Tom Day (his opponent for President) to discuss Tom's ideas and motives for running ... the latest budget proposal from the Board indicates the current dues are low while SPEEA provides high value.
Staff member Paul Shearon reported on current organizing activities. He thanked Council Reps who participated in training for our effort to organize Puget Sound nonrepresented employees. We will be monitoring their upcoming representation election.
Ron Mathes spoke to the Council about "dilatory, absurd and frivolous motions" as they relate to Roberts Rules of Order.
Staff member Maria Nelson provided an update on the Partnership activities (see related article below).
Staff member Maria Nelson reported a Working Together Partnership meeting has been scheduled with Dave Swain, Hank Queen and others. From SPEEAs side, participants include President Craig Buckham, Executive Director Charles Bofferding, Vice President Alan Rice, Council Chair Pat Waters and Maria. Maria is working with Company folks to develop the agenda for this meeting. These items include:
Maria said the contract supports allowing time during the first week of all new engineers or technicians employment for them to meet with a SPEEA representative and learn about SPEEAs role in the Partnership. It also provides the Leadership Council will establish specific annual objectives for the Partnership.
Regarding engagement efforts in Commercial Engineering, Maria said they held a meeting on April 4th at the Renton Community Center. About 150 first-level managers were there to find out about the Partnership, and what it means to them. Hank Queen spent the whole day there, fielding some hard questions from the group (upper management commitment to the process, compensation, budget, etc). Hank talked about People issues, accountability for communication, job satisfaction and morale issues. Maria said they want to reach all managers in Commercial Engineering, so they plan to have more of these meetings.
On April 11th, Maria met with SPEEA representatives on the Commercial Engineering partnership support teams. It was a good opportunity for information sharing. Some groups are doing very well, while others are getting a slow start. Maria encouraged them to share with their managers issues they hear from employees on such things as compensation, benefits, corporate managements attitude, etc.
Finally, Maria reported she is working with Dean Tudor at the Ed Wells Initiative to schedule "walk-through" meetings with SPEEA reps in Commercial Engineering to educate them on whats going on. She asked Council Reps to watch for meetings scheduled in their area, and encourage their Area Reps to attend with them.
Company asked to enforce Agency Fee
In an ongoing effort to bring all Puget Sound bargaining unit employees into compliance with the terms of the Agency Fee contract clause, SPEEA recently sent a letter informing The Boeing Company of 22 employees who have not yet met their obligation.
We, at SPEEA, hope these employees will avoid termination by meeting their Agency Fee obligations. More than 19,000 bargaining unit members have complied since this provision was approved in an election last summer. All bargaining unit employees, not just union members, voted in the election, which was held to decide if there should be an Agency Fee.
SPEEA members worked for nearly 60 years to achieve a vote on this important issue. Its passage and enactment means that all employees, both union and non-union, now share the cost for the services that SPEEA is required by federal law to provide to all represented employees
Under the rules of SPEEA's Agency Fee agreement with The Boeing Company, employees can join the union, remain a non-union member and pay the Agency Fee, or pay a reduced fee under the rules of Beck vs. Communications Workers of America. Members of certain religious organizations may also qualify to make a charitable donation instead of paying a fee.
Each employee whose name was forwarded to the Company was contacted by SPEEA multiple times and asked to choose one of the available options. These contacts included letters to their home, e-mails to their workplace and in some cases personal telephone calls and visits by Council Reps and SPEEA staff. Finally, SPEEA asked the Company to follow-up with the individual employees who had not complied. Only then, as outlined in the Boeing - SPEEA contract, was a final list of non-compliant employees prepared and forwarded to the Company.
Failing to enforce the Agency Fee rules for everyone is unfair to the thousands of employees and union members who have, and continue to meet their obligations. Our goal is to have no one terminated. We hope the Company will encourage these workers to comply with the terms of their contract and remain Boeing employees.
Site Assembly alive and well in Everett
The Everett Site Assembly (ESA) held it's third meeting on Monday, April 9th at the SPEEA Office in Everett. Although the meetings are not drawing large numbers of participants, it is steadily growing.
The ESA has already established a number of goals for future meetings:
1) Council Meeting Input - The meetings will be held on the Monday prior to the monthly Council meeting so that the attendees can discuss issues of concern, areas of common interest, and in some cases put forth advisories from an Everett perspective. The intent is to use the ESA to obtain feedback from our membership, Area Reps and Council Reps in regard to issues before the Council.
2) Everett Round Table - The Round Table is a (monthly) regularly-scheduled meeting of SPEEA Council Representatives and management to discuss workplace issues and concerns. The ESA recommended the appointment of three representatives to meet with three management reps (3-on-3 subcommittee) to develop agenda items to be addressed at the larger meeting.
3) Communications - The ESA will work to improve the communication between members and the Council, between employees and the employer, and between SPEEA and the Everett community.
4) Community Involvement - The ESA will be considering proposals to get involved in community projects to help promote SPEEA's image and to "give back" to the community.
The ESA is chaired by Dale Shifflett, and co-chaired by Alan Rice. All members at Everett are encouraged to attend future meetings. The next Everett Site Assembly meeting will be on Monday, May 7th. If you would like to attend please contact Susanne at (425) 355-2883.
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.
Retirement Planning & Investing
Attend this important workshop for answers to questions like: How much money will I need when I retire? Howwill inflation affect my style of living through my retirement years? What should I be doing with my investments now and into retirement? Which pension option should I choose? When should I take Social Security? What can I do now to prepare for retirement later? Is a Roth IRA right for me?
CFP and Michael Pak, Regional VP for Fidelity Investments, will
present their free 2-1/2 hour workshop on two dates in RENTON:
Complimentary 1-hour retirement planning consultation for every attendee. SPEEA members and spouses are invited, on a space available basis.
To register, call Chris Martelli at (206) 275-5138 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Retirement Planning Seminars
Kevin Cahoon, Associate Vice President, Retirement Planning Specialist, and Andrew Hergert, Financial Advisor, of Morgan Stanley will be presenting these free seminars for people about to retire that are considering a lump-sum distribution or rollover from their VIP/FSP and asking themselves: Do I have enough money to retire? What taxes and IRS penalties can be imposed on my lump-sum distribution? What are appropriate long-term strategies for my lump-sum or rollover that will best achieve my goals? If you are close to retirement and don't have answers to these questions, take an hour of your day to attend one of these seminars.
SPEEA members and spouses are invited although space is limited. Box lunches will be provided for all attendees. Luncheon buffet will be provided for the Auburn meetings at the Longhorn BBQ Restaurant. To reserve your space and request a box lunch, call Andrew Hergert at (206) 224-4203 or 1-800-733-4873.
Are you concerned about your prospects for retirement? Are you worried that the markets are undermining your hopes and plans and dreams? Would you like to learn how to be successful as an investor no matter what the markets are doing? If your answer is "yes" to any of those questions, "How to Invest for a Secure Retirement" could be your answer.
In this workshop, presented by award-winning newsletter publisher and money-manager Paul Merriman, you'll learn how to properly plan your investments for retirement. You'll see how to build portfolios of all-star no-load mutual funds at Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard and in the Boeing VIP/FSP plans. You'll see how to do it conservatively, moderately and aggressively, using both passive and active management.
Mark your calendar for one of the following dates, and reserve your space by calling Merriman Capital Management at 1-800-423-4893.
Free Retirement Planning workshop
Mike Matthews of Paine Webber is offering this free retirement workshop geared towards those about to retire. Topics include: Maximize your monthly income with today's competitive interest rates ... Retirement investment strategies designed for income and growth ... Tax efficient strategies designed for retirement plan distributions ... Advantages of new IRS distribution rules (what they mean to you) ... and Options regarding the VIP-FSP plans upon retirement.
For reservations, call Michelle Van Dusen at (425) 451-2326 or 1-800-831-8511.
Contract personnel update
On March 23, 2001, The Boeing Company reports there are 1,285 engineers and 538 technical workers hired as contract personnel holding jobs equivalent to SPEEA-represented positions, broken down by major organization as follows:
Skills with 10 or more:
NOTE: Data provided by Boeing did not include WTPU
CWU MSET Recruiting Event April 26th
Central Washington University will be hosting a Recruiting and Information Session at the Boeing Auburn Plant for the Master of Science in Engineering Technology program.
Thursday, April 26, 2001
1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Auburn, 17-11 Cafeteria (NW corner), Olympic Room
Dr. Walter Kaminski, the program director, will explain the program and answer questions for any prospective students.
The CWU MSET classes are conducted in the Auburn 17-220 building Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The program is sponsored by the Boeing Learning Together Program.
For additional information, check out the CWU MSET Website Link:
Benefit Plan Open Enrollment
May 1 through May 25
The health & welfare annual enrollment period for SPEEA-represented employees covered by the Puget Sound contracts has been set. During the period May 1st through May 25th, employees may:
* Change their Medical or Dental plan coverage (there are four medical plans and three dental plans to choose from)
* Opt to purchase Long-Term Disability Insurance (as requested by SPEEA, and offered for the first time in several years; normally employees are only allowed to sign up for LTD coverage at their new-hire orientation)
* Enroll their eligible same-gender domestic partner in coverage for medical, dental and/or VPA (as negotiated by SPEEA, and offered to nonunion employees in their open period which became effective 1/1/01).
Effective Date of Changes
Any changes for SPEEA-represented employees requested during this open enrollment period will become effective July 1, 2001.
Premiums for Traditional Medical Plan
Because the claims experience for the Traditional Medical Plan has exceeded the CPI-Medical for the past year, contract Section 15.2(b)(1) will be implemented effective July 1, 2001. Anyone who opts to stay with or move to the Traditional Medical Plan during the upcoming open period will be required to pay premiums starting July 1st. These premiums are limited (per contract) to $10 (employee only); $20 (employee & spouse, or employee & child); or $30 (employee & family). Premiums do not apply for anyone enrolled in Alliant, Health Washington, or Regence Selections.
Plan Comparisons available
There are four plans to choose from, and all the plans are different. No one plan is best for everyone. Prior to making your selection, you should closely evaluate the terms of the plan, and types of coverage they offer. If there are ongoing medical situations you are having treated, or if you know of treatment needs in the future, take those into consideration.
Hewitt, the plan administrator, will provide PLAN COMPARISONS to employees who call in and request one (call 1-888-747-2016, and have your PIN ready). Through this toll-free number, you can also be connected directly to a specific plan if you have questions.
Dental Discount for SPEEA members
SPEEA members who choose the Aetna Scheduled Dental Plan may take advantage of a very good discount with the Bright Now! Dental Clinics. Other than your required deductible, Bright Now! charges NO (zero) CO-PAYS for covered procedures done at their participating offices (Southcenter, Lynnwood, Kent, Tacoma, Portland and Spokane - ref. SPEEA Discount List for locations & phone numbers).
[NOTE: Bright Now! is also a Washington Dental Service Plan participant, so patients choosing the WDS Preferred Provider Dental Plan will also find significantly reduced co-pays over average dentist charges. However, this plan requires that they charge you a percentage of the bill for their services.]