May 18, 2001 Newsletter #1835
Staff members Bill Dugovich and Mark Moshay talked about the use of email and email etiquette. They noted email should not substitute for face-to-face communication. But it is valuable to transfer documents, deliver the same message to several people, and deliver it quickly. Emails should be kept friendly, and they should be brief and to the point. Be sure to proofread before sending, and do not send any "objectionable" messages.
Staff member Maria Nelson talked about the Retention Appeal process. New Retentions are effective May 14th. In order to appeal, an employee must have dropped one or more positions, OR they must have received an R3 for four or more consecutive retention reviews while holding the same job classification. Appeal requests must be received within 30 days of notification of your retention. Employees should put their appeal requests in writing, including the name of the manager they spoke to, the stated reason for the drop, and why it is not satisfactory. If the request has merit, as determined by a Staff Contract Administrator, then a Retention Appeal letter is written. A meeting is then held between the Contract Administrator and two Boeing representatives, to review the case and come to a decision. Council Reps were provided copies of a SPEEA-prepared brochure titled "Did your Retention Rating Drop?" which outlines the retention appeal process.
AFL-CIO organizer Suzanne Wall asked SPEEA's help in obtaining signatures on Initiative I-775, a proposed ballot measure to help seniors and people with disabilities stay in their own homes. (establishing qualifications, standards, accountability, training, referral and employment for in-home care service providers).
Council Reps elected the following Northwest Regional Council Officers: Chair - Jimmie Mathis ... Treasurer - Joe Gregg ... Secretary - Sharon Moats.
The Council PASSED a motion to establish a joint Council/Board "Committee of Labor Council Delegates" to coordinate efforts of the delegates and establish a link for coordination among other SPEEA committees, as appropriate, with a request to report their activities to the Council.
Unable to attend this year's Leadership Conference, eight Council Reps were granted extensions on their required training, not to exceed four months.
IFPTE SPEEA Region VP Craig Buckham reported on attendance at the IFPTE Executive Committee meeting last week with our second VP Charles Bofferding. A facilitated discussion on strategic planning for IFPTE was held. Key words out of this discussion were Organizing ... Service ... Impact. Craig also reported CESO conducted a survey among its women members soliciting special issues women have, and how they can be worked. Summary results should be available soon.
Staff member Paul Shearon reported on current organizing efforts (we're targeting "internal" organizing, or membership recruitment), and status of an Article 20 hearing with the AFL-CIO (we hope to have a decision in the next couple weeks).
Organizational Planning Committee chair Judy Mogan reported her committee is working with staff to prepare a handout for new-hire orientation, and is developing a plan for Council Reps to meet face-to-face with new hires in their work areas.
Staff member Kristin Farr and Legislative committee chair Brenda Carlson reported on their attendance at the recent CESO (Council of Engineers & Scientists Organizations) meeting in WA, DC. The first day involved informational reports from each CESO unit. On the second day, participants divided into groups and met with congressional delegates (or their staff), to discuss CESO's top issues and promote our position on each (defense spending, fighting privatization, protection of FLSA exemption provisions, H-1B visa maintenance, and pension issues). Information is posted on the CESO website (http://www.cesounions.org).
Kurt Hanson gave the Executive Director's report, noting Wichita elected the following Midwest Regional Officers at their meeting tonight: Chair - Steve Smith ... Treasurer - Burt Shah ...Secretary - John Poettker. Congratulations to Wichita for accepting the offer for their first contract - now we can begin work of building up membership and partnering with the Company. Kurt also noted, with the announcement of Boeing HQ's moving to Chicago, SPEEA can now expand our partnering efforts with local management.
President Craig Buckham reported this year's IFPTE scholarship award for the private sector went to the daughter of SPEEA member Ron Trees. (Congratulations!)
Treasurer Richard Taylor reported income over expenses was $102,000 last month. And our Facilities Committee is investigating the possibility of relocating SPEEA Headquarters.
The Council PASSED a motion that SPEEA opposes the implementation of "trade promotion authority" (previously known as "fast track"), which is being promoted by President Bush.
Year-to-date, 1,942 new members have been recruited. Since last month's Council meeting, the following have recruited new members: (11 new members) Jayme Schmidt; (4 new members) Joe Lake; (3 new members each) Bill Barrett & Barbara Moore; (2 new members each) Don Gardner, Larry Marrell, Sharon Marrell, Lynda Maynard, Phil Richmond & Pat Waters; and (1 new member each) Jerry Andre, Richard Beckham, Matthew Bock, Lorene Brown, Dennis Davaz, Orlando DelosSantos, Danny Dever, Arnold Dewalt, Barbara Hover, David Juberg, John Kampsen, Steve Karich, Tony Laffranchi, Carroll Martell, Jimmie Mathis, Dick Morris, Joe Newberry, Cheryl O'Brien, Erik Paulson, Bill Quemuel, Dave Shifflett, Ron Shoemaker, Steve Spyridis, Rick Terney, John Watson, Jack Webster & Elaine Wulf.
It was reported former Executive Board member Bob McGrady (Portland) and his family are seeking help. Bob has non-Hodgkins Lymphocytic Leukemia and needs a stem cell transplant in order to survive. He will be undergoing the transplant at Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Bob and his wife Judy are required to stay in Seattle for up to four months. The National Transplant Assistance Fund is attempting to raise $50,000 to meet estimated, uninsured medical and relocation expenses. Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to NTAF Stem Cell Transplant (in honor of Bob McGrady), Suite 230, 3475 W. Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA 19072 (ref. http://www.transplantfund.org).
Notes from the Executive
Chicago - Our kind of town ... But why?
The waiting is over and the decision has been made - it is Chicago. Five hundred people will move with a streamlined Boeing Corporate Offices halfway across the country to demonstrate Boeing's commitment to - what? I don't think the 500 people who have to move their families half a continent would say it was a commitment to people. Once again the top commitment seems to be to shareholder value. Does anyone really believe that the decisions made by corporate will be any different if people's desks are in the state of Illinois instead of Washington? So the statement is a philosophical one.
I don't see how spending millions of dollars to send 500 people halfway across the country to make a philosophical statement makes sense. And this underscores many of our concerns of late. We see the decisions but we don't see the process, the criteria, or the data used to decide. We are problem-solvers by nature. This means that we tend to work problems methodically. If we understand and support the decision-making process, criteria for selection, and the data, we tend to support, or at least accept, a decision, even if we don't like the answer.
I would give one piece of advice to Boeing's top people to help them motivate Boeing's employees. Open up your decision-making processes. Let us know what decisions are being made, what options are being considered, what the selection criteria is, and what the data are. THEN, and only then, let us know what decision has been made. And if they really want to get our buy-in, I've got one more suggestion - ask for our input along the way. We are the single best group of problem-solvers in the world. I think our input could be value-added.
There are still many issues at Boeing for which the decision-making process, including the criteria and data, are mysteries. Compensation (I believe we are still behind the market) and the EIP (I can't understand why every employee isn't in the plan) are two that come to mind within 10 seconds - for many people who spend a little more time at this, the list gets pretty long very quickly. Asset utilization is mixed. There is still quite a veil on the topic but I believe that Becker and others are working to open the process a bit - I would encourage them to continue further along this path - we still have a ways to go.
The purpose of this article is NOT to dump on Boeing's leaders for abandoning the history and heritage of the Puget Sound and running half a continent away (OK - maybe just a bit). The primary goal is to underscore that we are problem-solvers and Boeing, as all companies today, is facing an uncertain future - one that would be better if employees understood and supported leadership's decisions. Our support takes more than "Great minds have thought about this and it is a good thing to do." We need to understand the decision-making process, including the selection criteria, the options, and the data used to decide. And it wouldn't hurt to actually be asked for our input. This is what working together is all about.
Chicago - our
kind of town...but I still don't know why.
Vacation information calculation frustration
By Mark Moshay, Everett Contract Administrator
As the title of this article suggests, we've encountered a few bumps in the road with the new vacation plan.While the vast majority of employees we represent have had no problem adjusting to the new system, there has been some confusion over certain aspects of the program that we'd like to address in the form of a Q & A.
Q. How much vacation do I get?
A. The table in Section 5.2(a) of both contracts shows the breakdown of vacation leave for each level of service. The first level, 1-4 years of service, earns vacation at the rate of 80 hours per year. So, an employee who starts work today begins accruing vacation at the rate of 80 hours per year. When that employee reaches his/her first anniversary, he/she will have earned 80 hours.
The idea is that the employee is earning as they go, rather than waiting for a lump sum award at the end of each year of employment. The same employee would begin earning vacation at the 5-to-9 year rate (96 hours) once they complete four (4) years of service. So, with 4 years and 1 day of service, the employee would begin accruing vacation at the rate of 96 hours per year.
Q. How do I figure out my two-year maximum?
A. This might sound like a dumb question, but it isn't. What many people have overlooked is that the two-year maximum is based on the rate at which you currently accrue vacation. The chart above illustrates when your vacation accrual rate changes. Likewise the two-year maximum changes when you enter the next level of service years.
For example: If you have 4 years and 1 day of service, then your two-year maximum is 192 hours. That is, 2 x 96 hours because once you reach your 4th Anniversary you begin accruing vacation at the rate of 96 hours per year.
Remember, as in the previous question, you earn vacation based on the number of years of service you will have at your next anniversary date.
Q. What happens if I reach my two-year maximum?
A. You will STOP accruing your earned vacation! Such loss of accrual will continue until you bring your total down below the two-year maximum by USING some of your vacation hours. So, it is important that you schedule enough vacation use to avoid "maxing out."
Some folks have complained that managing their vacation is more difficult now because of the fact that their vacation balance changes every paycheck. However, many employees prefer having their vacation available as soon as they earn it. In either case, we are publishing this information to help you monitor your vacation and stay within the limit.
Q. How do I know if my vacation balance or accrual is correct?
A. There are two main sources to determine your current balance of vacation. One is My Info, the other is your bi-weekly earnings statement. The calculations for My Info reflect a single week of accumulation, your earnings statement will show the total for two weeks.
Vacation Accrual Amounts (in hours)
* Hours are truncated to the nearest tenth of an hour. The remainder is carried to the next pay period. If necessary, an adjustment is made at the end of the year to ensure that the amount of leave reflects the annual accrual rate. (Example: 3.0688 hours would show as 3.0 hours; the remaining .0688 hours would be carried to the next pay period). This will result in a periodic fluctuation of a tenth of an hour (Example: 3.0 hours to 3.1 hours depending on the carry-over amount).
Another resource available to employees on the SPEEA Website is:
* Vacation Calculator (Excel file): ftp://ftp.speea.org/pub/vacationcalc_v5.xls
GE's Message to Shareholders
By Stan Sorscher, SPEEA Staff
In April every year, American companies hold shareholder meetings and mail out glossy Annual Reports to shareholders. The meetings and reports communicate the companies' values and vision to the public.
I look forward to Shareholders' meetings, in part because of the inspiring videos, upbeat messages and tasty pastries. Boeing's message to shareholders at the last several meetings has been "Shareholder Value," a program that includes sale of assets; repurchase of stock; out-sourcing to global suppliers; workforce reductions; reduced spending on capital, process improvement and research; mergers and acquisitions; relentless cost-cutting; and increased margins. At least 4 SPEEA-related Shareholders spoke at this year's Boeing meeting, focusing on customers, products, processes and people issues. (ref. http://www.speea.org/archive/files/Relations.html#Plan)
We hear that Boeing regards GE as a corporate role model. GE's stock price has increased steadily for decades. Over time, GE's revenue stream shifted from 85% manufactured goods to 70% services, but GE enjoys steady growth and holds strong market positions in power generating equipment, aircraft engines, medical imaging, lighting, and appliances.
The first words on page 1 of GE's Annual Report are "To our Customers, Share Owners and Employees" - the three groups whose interests must be in balance for long-term success.
Change can be painful and difficult, particularly when change comes at our expense as employees.
From page 2 of the GE Annual report:
" ... the most significant change in GE has been its transformation into a LEARNING COMPANY. [printed in red bold text in the annual report] Our true 'core competency' today is not manufacturing or services, but the global recruiting and nurturing of the world's best people and the cultivation in them of an insatiable desire to learn, to stretch and to do things better every day. By finding, challenging and rewarding these people, by freeing them from bureaucracy, by giving them all the resources they need - and by simply getting out of their way - we have seen them make us better and better every year.
"We have a Company more agile than others a fraction of our size, a high-spirited company where people are free to dream and encouraged to act and to take risks. In a culture where people act this way, every day, 'big' will never mean slow.
"This is all about people - 'soft stuff.' But values and behaviors are what produce those performance numbers and they are the bedrock upon which we will build our future."
To be sure, Annual Reports emphasize lofty principles, which may or may not translate directly into action. I think most of us accept globalization and we recognize that the new economy will be different from the old one. GE probably falls short in some areas in its People strategy. Still, it sounds like GE is relatively active and coherent in connecting its employees to their future. GE's people seem to be involved in change, rather than hearing after-the-fact about the consequences of change.
21st Century People strategy
We intend to build 21st century products, and we need a 21st century People strategy. Boeing will interact with global suppliers and customers - one way or another. We must understand how those decisions will be made, and how to plan our own careers.
The opposite of a learning company is a forgetting company. Quits and retirements are forms of forgetting. Discouragement and disillusionment are the equivalent of forgetting. Outsourcing, sale of assets, and failure to invest in the future are also ways of forgetting. A business culture that puts its employees at a disadvantage cannot compete in the new economy, the old economy or any other economy.
Share price is
an outcome, not a business strategy. "Values and behaviors are what produce
... performance numbers."
Facts about On-Call Assignments
By Mark Moshay, Contract Administrator
Recently, we've received a number of queries regarding the practice of assigning employees to be "on-call" status. There have been some misconceptions regarding the application of this practice.
The SPEEA contracts do not contain specific language about "on-call" assignments, however, they clearly define work schedules, overtime, and circumstances in which employees are paid for non-scheduled work.
Boeing Policy GG-ACC-714, "On-Call Assignments" (January 4, 1994) provides overall guidance for all employees. Any conflict between the collective bargaining contract agreements and the policy will result in the collective bargaining agreement taking precedence.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do I have to remain in the a certain location when I'm in an on-call status?
A: In most situations, employees will not be restricted to a specific area. Paragraph 4, of the Boeing Policy states: "Under federal law, nonexempt employees cannot be restricted to such a specific location that they cannot effectively use their time as they choose. When business conditions require such a specific restriction, the employees will be assigned to report to a Company location."
The Company cannot require you to remain in the immediate area, unless they give you a work location in which to report. At the time you report for duty, you would be in a pay status. So, if your boss tells you that you must remain "in town this weekend, to be on call", just ask him/her, "Ok, where do I report for the start of my shift?"
The point is, you cannot be required to restrict your location without compensation.
Q: What about exempt employees in the Professional Unit?
A: We believe the language in all SPEEA contracts clearly requires the employer to assign employees to specific work shifts. Even though the federal law does not address exempt employees, our contract requires employees to be paid to the nearest tenth of an hour for all time worked. If the professional employee is directed to remain in a specific area, then by definition they have been assigned to work, and should likewise ask for a location to report to at the beginning of their on-call assignment.
Q: Do I get paid overtime when I get called in?
A: Yes, any time worked beyond 40 compensated hours in a workweek (and/or 80 hours in a pay period for professionals) will be paid at the overtime rate. So, if you work your normal 40-hour workweek, and get called in on a day of rest, you would be paid at the overtime rate for all hours worked.
Q: What if I'm called in at an odd hour?
A: Let's say you work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as your normal shift. At 5 p.m. that night you get called back into work, and remain until 10:00 p.m. You would be paid at the overtime rate from the time you worked (including time spent on the phone responding to a call), and you would receive the second- shift premium rate since you commenced work in the second- shift time period.
Would you then be required to return again at 7 a.m.? Possibly, however both contracts allow for the movement of hours from one day to another within the 40-hour workweek (and/or 80- hour pay period for professionals). So, there are a number of possibilities that you could work out with your supervisor -- Too numerous to mention here.
All other contract provisions apply, including report time for technical employees (that is when you physically report to a work location).
Q: Can I be required to carry a pager?
A: Yes. However, as already stated, you cannot be disciplined if you are unavailable should you be paged, unless you have been directed to be at a specific location, which would mean that you would report to a work location at the beginning of your on-call assignment.
The most important point to keep in mind is that the Company needs to determine how necessary it is for you to be available. If it rises to the level of being mandatory, then you should report to a work location and remain in a paid status throughout the on-call period. If the Company wishes to avoid the cost of paying employees for carrying a pager, then they cannot discipline employees who do not respond to such calls.
Tech employees receive back-pay for contract violation
A few years ago, a group of (formerly) grade 37 technical bargaining unit employees were told by their management that they could not be upgraded from level 34 to level 37 on the day they started performing the level 37 work because the local management had a policy of a "six-month trial period" before any employees could be upgraded. Due to their naiveté, the employees believed this policy to be legitimate. It was not until three years later when another employee was promoted to a grade 37 position and received the upgrade immediately that they found out this policy was in violation of the SPEEA Technical Collective Bargaining Agreement. Per Article 22, Section 22.5, "It is the mutual objective of the Union and the Company that the job classification of each employee be an accurate and timely reflection of the work assigned..." The employees questioned management's "trial period" policy, and initially contacted their management to try to work the contractual violation on their own. Their manager supported them in their pursuit of back pay, but did not have any luck with local Compensation officials, who felt the employees had let too much time slip by, and therefore, did not deserve back pay.
The employees then turned to SPEEA for assistance, providing documentation to verify when they began their level 37 assignments. An investigation began, and SPEEA eventually filed a grievance on the employees' behalf, stating that they had not waived their rights to grieve the contract violation simply because too much time had passed. In fairness, as soon as the employees discovered that the trial policy was a contract violation, they brought the injustice to the attention of management and then to the Union. Once the data was turned over to BCA Union Relations, the Company chose to do the right thing for the employees, and make them whole for the lost back-pay. The task of recalculating their back pay was a laborious one, since every pay period for the last four years needed to be adjusted, including selective salary/merits and overtime calculations. SPEEA recently settled the grievance to all parties' satisfaction, amounting to a significant figure for each employee. [KF]
Coverage for Newborns
There have been a number of instances in which employees have been denied coverage for their newborn children because they fail to notify their insurance provider within the 60-day period as cited in the contract. Late last year an employee contacted his SPEEA Contract Administrator with such a denial and sought assistance. The Contract Administrator advised the employee to contact the provider, and also seek a medical review.
Somehow wires got crossed. The medical review concluded that the employee would not be able to add his newborn to his insurance until the next open enrollment. However, the provider had already accepted the employee's justification for the late notice. This resulted in the Contract Administrator continuing through the appeal process on behalf of the employee.
In late April, a Company Benefits Representative contacted the Contract Administrator and explained the mix up. The Benefits Representative made a special effort to contact the insurance provider to get the specific information. The denial letter was withdrawn and the employee has had that burden lifted from his shoulders. Thanks to the "extra effort" by the Company representative and the persistence of the Contract Administrator, the problem was resolved. [MM]
Working together to accommodate transfer
A member recently contacted the SPEEA office with an interesting dilemma. He was recently transferred from BCAG Puget Sound to Boeing in St Louis. However, due to problems with a change in the payroll systems there, they could not accommodate his need to change his medical benefits packages there. The employee drafted a chronology of the problem and e-mailed it to the appropriate Contract Administrator (CA).
Simultaneous to receiving it, the CA called the People representative (HR) of the employee's previous organization. The HR person had been asked by St Louis to have SPEEA remove the person from our represented paycode to allow them to accommodate his medical benefits. The CA explained to HR that SPEEA couldn't change the individual's paycode within the Company's database. Management accomplishes that with the assistance of HR in dealing with Employee Records. The suggestion was made for the HR person to contact the latter department directly and advise them of the problem.
Within an hour of that conversation, the CA received feedback from the HR that action was being taken to allow the change in paycodes. This would effectively allow St Louis to get the employee covered by their local plans. It also prompted immediate communication with the employee regarding an urgent medical need. [BR]
SPEEA COUNCIL VACANCIES
Council Vacancy in District R-3
John Rees, who was just re-elected to a two-year term for SPEEA Council District R-3, sent us the following letter of resignation:
I had a tough decision to make between a career opportunity within Boeing and staying where I am now. By accepting Boeing's offer of becoming Manager of the Certification/Airworthiness arm of the AEW&C (Wedgetail) airplane program, I must resign from SPEEA. I needed a change after having been in my present job for 11 years. It is time to move on. The sad part, I must withdraw from SPEEA and my activities with SPEEA. I was enjoying "Engagement", DER Committee, and my duties as a Council Rep. [The biggest challenge was trying to find out what was the new District I was in, finding who else was in it, finding where they all went after the earthquake, and then getting the necessary signatures to become the new district council rep. (I am a 10-85 refugee.)] I definitely felt personal growth in each of those areas. Thank you for the encouragement you and SPEEA provided as well as for those opportunities to grow and help others.
Hopefully, I won't get too brainwashed and will be able to apply all the things I have learned, especially over the last three years.
/s/ John T Rees
Airplane Certification, Delivery & Fleet Support
If you are in John's district (Profs, Renton, former 10-85 building), and would like to apply to fill the vacancy (and meet the 1-year continuous SPEEA membership requirement) - please contact Terry Hall for instructions (206/433-0995, ext. 130 or email@example.com). If you get your petition in by noon on Wednesday, June 6th (unopposed), you can be seated by the Tellers in time to attend the next meeting of the Council on Thursday, June 7th.
Council Vacancies - D-5, E-12 & N-1
Jim McCool has accepted a job outside Boeing, so is resigning from his position as Council Rep for District D-5 (Profs, Developmental Center, 7-251, 9-50, 9-101, 9-120, 13-01 & 13-03 Buildings).
Lucy Brokaw has accepted a transfer into a nonrepresented exempt payroll, so is resigning from her position as Council Rep for District E-12 (Techs, Everett, 40-87 Building).
Bill Saguto is leaving The Boeing Company, so a vacancy exists in his Council District N-1 (Profs, Wichita, 3-190Z, 3-200X, 4-501, 4-505 & 4-509 Buildings).
How to apply: If you reside in one of these districts, if you meet the one-year continuous SPEEA membership requirement, and if you would like to apply for the vacancy in your district - please contact Terry Hall for instructions (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206/433-0995, x130). Your completed petition must reach the SPEEA office by 12:00 NOON the day before the next Council meeting in order to be eligible. If your seat is "unopposed", the Tellers can seat you in time to serve at the Council meeting on the following day. If there is opposition, ballots will be mailed to the members in your district.
Deadline: The next deadline is noon Wednesday, June 6th (next Council meeting is Thursday, June 7th).
Be an ECF board member, make a positive difference!
Want to make a difference in your community and help carry on a legacy of giving for another 50 years? Then be a member of the board of trustees for the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound. Applications are being accepted May 17 through June 19 from members of the Fund to become candidates for the trustee election in the fall. Trustees are responsible for day-to-day operations of the Fund, make decisions about local grants and join local United Way boards of directors. A two-year commitment is required with trustees spending 25 percent of their work time during the first year and up to 50 percent during the second year. If you have the time, commitment and energy required for this position, call (206) 655-6987 for more information or for an application.
Career Advancement seminars presented by Robin Ryan
SPEEA is offering two new seminars by Robin Ryan, best-selling author and career coach, FREE to SPEEA members. Robin's job-search seminars helped hundreds of SPEEA members during the last round of layoffs. Now she's offering a new seminar on Career Advancement. Robin is tailoring her seminar to specifically address the needs of engineers and technical employees at Boeing.
The new seminar, "Smart Strategies for Career Advancement", is being offered at two locations:
Robin Ryan will offer proven strategies and tools on getting promoted, whether or not you plan to stay in your current job at Boeing.
She will also be sharing new research from a survey from top executives on how to get promoted. This research will be featured in her upcoming book due to be published later this year.
She'll cover career management tools that can be used to influence promotions and raises, plus resume tips, interview techniques and salary negotiation tips to polish your skills and move your career ahead.
This seminar is offered FREE to SPEEA members. Space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis (register at the phone number listed above).
To find out more about Robin Ryan, and information about her job search techniques, check out her website at http://www.robinryan.com