May 4, 2001 Newsletter #1833
SPEEA members in the Wichita Technical & Professional Unit (WTPU) will hold an all-member meeting from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday, May 7, at Century II convention center to review and vote on a proposal that could result in their first contract with The Boeing Company.
Summary packages were mailed to all members' homes. Additional information, including the complete text of the contract, is posted at www.speea.org.
Employee absence from work to attend the meeting is "excused." Members should talk to their Council Reps or managers about how to charge for the time.
Voting will only take place at the meeting. Only SPEEA members can vote on the contract. Members need to show their Boeing badge before being issued a ballot. In addition to voting on the contract proposal, members will be asked to vote on strike authorization. Authorization is needed to prepare for the possibility the contract is rejected.
The WTPU Negotiation Team and Council both voted unanimously to recommend members accept the contract.
The latest offer made minor changes to the distribution of general wage increases, offered cost of living protection against extreme inflation, and allowed employees to purchase supplemental life insurance from the Company. The Company refused to make the Employee Incentive Plan (EIP) available to the union-represented employees or increase the amount of guaranteed money in the contract. The latest offer included all of the previously negotiated improvements, including the $1,500 bonus for all bargaining unit members.
"There are minor improvements in this proposal," said Charles Bofferding, executive director and SPEEA's chief spokesman. "The Company made it clear that this is as far as they are prepared to go this side of a strike."
"Securing a contract is a victory in itself," said Bob Brewer, chairman of the SPEEA Negotiation Team. "A contract provides the formal avenue to take issues and concerns to the Company. That avenue will be used to its fullest extent to press Boeing to address issues not resolved during the current negotiations."
"We will continue to work issues," Brewer said. "But, we also recognize the significant improvements and protections that a contract provides."
WTPU All-Member Meeting
Contract Proposal Review & Voting
Monday, May 7, 2001
1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Century II Convention Center
SPEEA tells Boeing board to pay attention to the employees
SPEEA members took their concerns to Boeing shareholders with informational picketing and questions during the Company's annual meeting at the Westin Hotel in Seattle.
SPEEA members and staff braved rain and cool temperatures to pass out flyers outside the hotel before the meeting. The group also waived signs proclaiming the need to provide the EIP to all employees and abandon its failed people strategy.
While the group was small, it attracted a good deal of media attention.
Executive Board member Ron Mathes was able to exchange a few words with Commercial Airplane CEO Alan Mulally.
"He said 'I hope you guys can get back to work soon'," Mathes said. "He was smiling when he said it."
Joel Funfar (P-4), Judy Mogan (A-50) and Phillip Richmond (D-6) were among the SPEEA Council Reps who helped with the picketing. They were joined by Staff members Maria Nelson, Rich Plunkett, Mark Moshay, Bill Dugovich, Jessica Bonebright and Laura Anderson.
Council Rep Lucy Brokaw (E-12), Executive Director Charles Bofferding, and SPEEA Staff member Stan Sorscher addressed the board during the meeting. It was a meeting that saw all board comments come from Boeing CEO Phil Condit.
SPEEA speakers, and others, told the board it is time to adjust the focus of the Company away from short-term shareholder gains and back toward a view that focuses on long-term corporate well being.
"We want to build 21st century products and we are trying to do it with 20th century People strategies," Sorscher told the board and audience of about 400.
After one SPEEA sympathetic comment, a stockholder rose to say she was sick of labor unrest. She advised employees who do not like the Company to leave. More than 2,000 engineers and technical workers in the Puget Sound bargaining units have taken the advice in the past year. More important, young professionals are disappearing from the workforce. SPEEA's message to her, and the rest of the stockholders, provided the response to her suggestion. If you want to maintain shareholder value, it's time to start paying attention to the people because it is the products the employees design and build that creates shareholder value.
"I think some
people in the audience actually understood," said Sorscher.
the Executive Director
While people were braving the wind and rain outside the Westin protesting Boeing's failed people strategy, a small group of us went into the shareholder's meeting. Following are the comments I gave during the question-and-answer period.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
I am Charles Bofferding, the Executive Director of Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. SPEEA is one of Boeing's two largest unions, representing over 25,000 engineering, technical and professional employees working at Boeing in seven different states. We believe that Boeing is a great company with fantastic potential; but we believe that a focus on short-term financials and a failed people strategy could cripple the Company in the long term.
Last year, I spoke about sharing your commitment to a partnership and promised SPEEA's active participation to help Boeing move boldly forward. I do so again this year. However, I also rise to sound an alarm that, while things may look good for the past year, the future could well be shaky.
Stock price may be up in the short term; but, when adjusted for inflation, the price is where it was three years ago (see figures 1 & 2). Morale is low, attrition is high, and our demographics reflect a Company that is consuming its own employees and not building for the future (see Figure 3, which shows that our population is (a) aging, (b) leaving, and (c) not being replaced). We have a tremendous hole in our demographics and, if we don't do something about it, we could be on a glide slope to history. (I have charts and I will send you a copy).
This leads me to comment on Boeing's Failed people strategy.
Unions are not your enemy. Unions should not be painted as your adversary. We rightly advocate for employees from their perspective, but we can be great partners. You should stop fighting us and try to work with us.
One good example is the Employee Incentive Plan (EIP) that purports to share increased profits with the employees who help generate them. In the Puget Sound, Boeing's Corporate Negotiators refused to allow the EIP in our contracts. Recently in Wichita, as soon as over 4,000 employees formed a union, Boeing tried to take them out of the EIP. They then refused to let these people continue in the plan.
During our strike we actively supported PNTR for China; and now, while we are recommending the Company's offer in Wichita and pushing for full funding of the Ex-Im bank, we are picketing the shareholders meeting. How do we square these actions? We are committed to doing everything we can to make Boeing the best company it can be, and this includes holding the leaders accountable.
During our strike, we proclaimed that we were fighting "Not to hurt Boeing, but to save it". Many wondered what this meant. Simply put, we believe we are fighting to give employees a voice and the respect they deserve. We are fighting to bring Boeing's people strategy into the 21st century and develop a partnership that honors all of Boeing constituents and forms a relationship that makes Boeing the best it can be for all stakeholders - employees, customers and shareholders.
Phil, we love your vision. We believe that it is the right one. The only problem is that we haven't yet realized it.
Phil, last year I thanked you for your leadership to help settle our strike; your unseen hands pushing us back toward vision 2016 and a real partnership based on mutual respect. I thanked you for a good first step and said that our desire was to move forward together from where we are now.
That still is our desire - however, now we need to see your hand aligning the actions of your leadership team with your vision for this Company.
Boeing is our Company and we care about the long-term future. It is easier to sell your stock than change your job. That is why we want to see "People working together as a global entity for aerospace leadership." Neither of us can do it alone. Let's do it together.
Phil's response was to point out that there was no question and that he believes the Company is looking out for the long term.
Oh well, I'm left wondering if any of this is sinking in. However, I am certain that we've got to keep pushing for what we know is right.
Wichita Professional Unit
The March 2, 2001 contractual selective salary adjustment fund is computed as the fund percentage (4% for the March 2, 2001 fund) times the total payroll on the fund computation date (January 3, 2001, in this case). For this exercise, the eligible population was 1253 earning a total salary of $82,936,000. 4% of this total is $3,317,440. The actual fund distributed effective March 2 was $3,361,700 or 4.05% of the payroll ($44,260 beyond the required amount). A minimum participation of 3% was guaranteed to all eligible employees.
Eligible employees are those employees in the bargaining unit and on the active payroll on both the fund computation date (January 3, 2001) and the fund distribution date (March 2, 2001). An employee does not have to work for an entire one-year review period in order to be included in the salary adjustment fund process. The separation of the dates for the fund computation and the fund distribution allows for more timely distribution of funds.
Engineering Experience Data
"Equivalent BS Year" is subtracted from 2001 to compute years of engineering experience shown in the tables below. Generally it is equal to the year an employee received his/her BS degree. Boeing records include adjustments, if appropriate, for time not performing engineering work after earning degree, or engineering-related experience prior to earning degree.
Upgrades + Out-Of-Sequence increases
Upgrades and out-of-sequence increases (Upg/OOS) since the 3/2/2000 exercise are reported below, but only for those who participated in the 3/2/2001 salary exercise. The majority of these increases were associated with SJC conversion in November 2000. The December 8, 2000 SPEEA Newsletter reported 440 of 1266 bargaining unit employees received upgrades averaging $3153 (upgrade increases are $3000 minimum). The Upg/OOS and 3/2/2001 increase percentages are not additive since upgrades and out-of-sequence raises were received prior to the 3/2/01 exercise and are included in the 3/1/2001 salaries. Those who received upgrades are shown at their new grade.
The tables below summarize the distribution of salary increases by a variety of categories. The shaded columns only apply to upgrades and out-of-sequence raises (Upg/OOS). "% Change Upg/OOS" includes the overall percentage including those who didn't receive an upgrade or out-of-sequence increase. However, "Average Upg/OOS" is the average of just those who received an upgrade and/or out-of-sequence increase. Table 5 shows distributions based on Upg/OOS % Increases.
Salary Increase Population Distribution
The charts below show the percent salary increase and salary increase distribution for the 1,253 employees eligible for a salary increase effective March 2, 2001.
New-Hire orientation lawsuit - who's eligible for the settlement?
In our April 6th newsletter, we reported on the settlement to the new-hire orientation lawsuit filed by SPEEA in December 1992 (King Co. Superior Ct. No. 92-2-29005-7). The court eventually ruled in SPEEA's favor, requiring the Company to provide back-pay to employees.
States differ when it comes to "back pay" in such cases. In our particular case, "eligible" current and former Boeing employees was defined as:
members of the plaintiff class in this action who attended an unpaid
Sign-Up Session held in the states of Washington or Pennsylvania
between the dates of December 15, 1989 and April 2, 1996, inclusive,
OR held in the State of Oregon between the dates of December
15, 1986 and April 2, 1996, inclusive."
Two separate checks were mailed on March 31, 2001, in separate envelopes to eligible employees. One check was for back wages (labeled "Sign-up Lawsuit Wages"). The other check was interest (labeled "Sign-up Lawsuit Interest."). The back wages payment is subject to all normal payroll taxes and will be reported to the IRS on W-2 forms for the year 2001.
Under the Court's rulings, the amount of back wages that eligible class members receive varies according to the time period involved and the state in which the class member attended sign-up. In all cases, the payment was at the state minimum wage rate that applied during the time period in which the class member attended the sign-up session.
In Washington, the minimum rate varied from $3.85 per hour in 1989, to $4.25 per hour in 1990, and $4.90 in 1994. Other states had different rates, some lower than Washington. The number of hours compensated varies from 1.75 hours to 7.5 hours.
The interest payments were computed from the date of the sign-up session attended through March 30, 2001. Interest rates vary from state to state. For class members who attended sign-up in Washington it is 12%; for Oregon it is 9%, and for Pennsylvania it is 6%. No taxes will be withheld from your interest check, but interest payments will be reported to the IRS on a form 1099 for the year 2001.
Results of Council election
On Wednesday, April 25, 2001, the Tellers committee met to count SPEEA 2001 Council Election ballots for districts where there was opposition. Results are as follows:
Number of ballots mailed 1,879
Invalid ballots/envelopes 148
(wrong election, no signature)
Number of valid ballots 515 (27%)
Newly-elected Council Reps are shown in bold. These new reps, along with those 63 who ran unopposed (listed in the April 13th Newsletter) took office effective April 25 for the 2001-2003 two-year term of office. These reps will elect Regional Council Officers at their first meeting on May 10th.
Congratulations to those who were elected! And thanks to all who applied!
Additional Council Reps seated
The following, who turned in petitions after the deadline for the annual election (and who were unopposed) were seated by the Tellers as Council Reps in their respective districts for two-year terms, effective April 25, 2001:
Remaining Council vacancies
We still have 16 vacancies on the Council (listed below). We encourage interested members to apply.
D-1 Profs, D.C., 9-90, 9-96 & 9-98 [3 vacancies]
D-3* Profs, 11-14 (Cust.Serv.), 21-series (E.Marg.Way Corp.Park) [2 vacancies]
D-4* Techs, 11-14 (Cust.Serv), 21-series (E.Marg.Way Corp.Park)
E-1 Profs, Everett, 40-82, 40-85, 40-86
E-9* Profs, Everett, 40-88 [2 vacancies]
K-4 Techs, Kent, 18-01, 18-04, 18-05, 18-21, 18-22, 18-23, 18-24, 18-26, 18-28
K-10 Profs & Techs, Renton Benaroya
K-20 Profs & Techs, 12-126, 12-129 (Southcenter South)
R-1* Profs, Renton, 10-80
R-2* Techs, Renton, 4-20, 4-21, 4-63, 4-64, 4-75, 4-76, 5-02, 5-08, 5-60
R-5 Profs, Renton, 10-16 [2 vacancies]
*Multiple position district where at least one petition has been received.
QUALIFICATIONS: You must reside in the district where you are applying, and you must have paid SPEEA dues continuously for the previous 12 months. Petitions should be delivered, mailed or faxed to SPEEA Headquarters. If petitions are received the day before a Council meeting, and the position is unopposed, the Tellers can seat the candidate in time for the Council meeting. If there is opposition, ballots will be mailed to members in that district. (The next Council meeting will be May 10, 2001.)
Open enrollment for benefits changes - May 1st - 25th
The annual enrollment period for SPEEA members (to change medical or dental plan options ... to enroll in Long Term Disability Insurance ... or to enroll same-gender domestic partner in medical, dental or VPA plan) is May 1st through 25th.
Benefits information on Boeing Web site
In addition to the annual enrollment information you receive at home, one way to gather data to help make your decision during the open period is to check out the Company's union-related benefits website at:
Or you can call the plan administrator at the Boeing Service center, who can provide you with personalized plan comparisons and provider lists for your area (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.
We encourage you to call EARLY in order to receive the materials in plenty of time to review them.
SPEEA Q & A compares options
Two convenient learning opportunities for engineering and technical employees
Society of Manufacturing Engineers Annual Meeting
Officially hosted by Boeing, the Society's annual meeting will be held at the Seattle Westin Hotel May 29 - June 3. This year, the Society will convene special programs on Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing. SME is one of the leading professional societies for manufacturing industries and is an important source of training and certification programs for manufacturing engineers at Boeing. Jim Morris, executive vice president of BCA Supplier Management, will be a keynote speaker.
The Ed Wells Initiative will pay registration fees for a limited number of SPEEA-represented employees. The employee's home organization pays the salary. Registration details for the conference are at
Design for Manufacturability
Dr. David Anderson presents a two-day technical short course on how to design manufacturable aerospace products. The course is offered twice, once in Everett and once in Renton, during the week of June 4.
The class will be useful for everyone involved in product development including project leaders, design engineers, and manufacturing engineers. Dr. Anderson will present practical principles, procedures, and design guidelines. Attendees are encouraged to bring examples of good or bad DFM for discussion.
The tuition will be paid by the Initiative; labor charges are the responsibility of the employee's home organization. Enrollment is limited. Seminar details and registration information are at
The Ed Wells Initiative is a joint SPEEA/Boeing program for the application of technical excellence. Keep current with its learning opportunities at the event calendar on http://edwells.web.boeing.com
NW Region Council meeting
Thursday, May 10, 2001
15205 - 52nd Ave S, Tukwila
A G E N D A
CPI - March 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 March 2001 is 172.6. (On a 1967=100 base, the March index is 514.2.) This is a 0.1% increase from one month ago, and a 2.8% increase from a year ago.