June 8, 2001 Newsletter #1837
The Everett Roundtable is comprised of SPEEA leaders who meet on a regular basis with Everett Site management. Members of the Everett Roundtable recently presented a plaque on behalf of SPEEA to Ron Ostrowski - for keeping the lines of communication open, and for working to resolve issues. Ron has been instrumental in keeping this process alive for the past two years, continually "partnering" with our Everett staff and leadership - even before the Partnership Agreement was implemented. Ron has announced his retirement, and plans to do some boating and fishing. We thank him and wish him well!
Irving members elect Negotiation Team
The contract for SPEEA members working for Boeing in Irving, Texas will expire at the close of February 2, 2002. Negotiation preparation began with the election of Negotiation Team members. Four employees' names were entered in nomination. A ballot was prepared along with a brief statement from each candidate. Irving Teller Kathy Davis conducted the balloting among all Irving members during the week of May 21st. On Friday, May 25th, volunteer Tom Jensen helped Kathy count the ballots, with the following results.
Eligible voters 70
Valid ballots cast 33
(4 invalid, no signature)
FOR Redge Thompson 30
FOR Gail Ayres 14
FOR Joyce Thomas 27
FOR Clint Kinser 21
Congratulations to Redge, Joyce
and Clint, who will form the three-member Negotiation Team. And thanks
to Gail Ayres, who will serve as "alternate" on the Team.
Want notification of labor issues?
Some of our members have asked to be notified of labor activities scheduled in the community. The Washington State Labor Council has a program set up where you can register and be notified of labor events taking place within the state. You can sign up for the service by going to: http://www.wslc.org/thelist.htm
You can also visit an area on the WSLC site that updates state issues -- it's at http://www.wslc.org/legis/lulatest.htm
Finally, the top labor-related news stories are located on the WSLC's Reports Today page, at http://www.wslc.org/reports/latest.htm (there's a link to this page on SPEEA's website under "Hot Issues").
These are benefits SPEEA members can receive for the dues we pay to our local labor councils.
Notes from the Executive
Many words have been written about SPEEA and Boeing forming a partnership to make Boeing better for everyone. While we focus on SPEEA and Boeing partnership, we may be slighting other important partnerships - those between employees and the unions they chose to form.
SPEEA is committed to fostering all partnerships that help the people we represent.
As I write this article, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Council 54 for North West Pilots in Seattle are meeting in our council room downstairs.
Just today Craig Buckham and I visited IAM District 751 President Mark Blondin and his administrative assistant Ron McGaha. We had a wonderful discussion about Boeing, about the fact that, between us, we represent over 45,000 people in the Puget Sound when Boeing claims about 80,000 employees here. We all agree that Boeing is our company and we should help the people stand up for what is right. We all also agree that it would be a good thing to see the unions that represent Boeing employees get together. Mark and Ron have graciously offered to help arrange an event that would bring together a few leaders from the unions representing Boeing employees in the Puget Sound. This could end up being a very important partnership indeed.
There is tremendous benefit and power to people forming partnerships - with each other in unions, between the unions, and between unions and companies.
I believe that a partnership with Boeing is a good thing. However, I have to believe that our partnership with Boeing will be more powerful for our members if we are also simultaneously encouraging a partnership between all employees.
Partnerships are a lot like respect - before you can get it from others, you must first give it to yourself. Employees are wise to form partnerships with each other before jumping into partnerships with companies. Then we can have real partnerships that work for everyone. And that is our real goal.
Support the "Responsible Contractor Rule"
The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council is proposing to repeal the previous Administration's rules on federal contractor responsibility. The rules require contracting officers to look at a company's record of complying with the law in deciding whether the company is a "responsible contractor" eligible to receive a federal contract (i.e., taxpayer dollars). Before awarding a federal contract, agencies must take into account a company's record of complying with the law, including laws designed to protect workers, civil rights, clean air and clean water.
A company's record of complying with the law should be an important factor in making government contracting decisions. Companies that routinely violate laws designed to protect the environment, consumers, workers and other important rights shouldn't be rewarded with valuable federal contracts. Instead, those contracts should go to responsible, law-abiding companies that respect their obligations under the law.
From now until July 6, the public can submit comments to the government agency that issues federal contractor rules. Please take a moment to tell the administration that you support continuation of the "Responsible Contractor Rule". Send your letters to:
General Services Administration
SPEEA attends health care forum
Spiraling costs for medical care have inspired a national debate regarding prescription medicine and our health-care system in general. SPEEA is getting involved in the discussion.
A forum - entitled "Prescription Drugs: How can we balance care, cost and access?" - was held in Seattle on Friday June 1. It brought together local and national representatives from the insurance industry, employers, pharmaceutical companies, public advocates, retirees' organizations, unions, and political leaders.
SPEEA was represented at this event by Council Rep Cynthia Cole (who is a member of our Joint Benefits Committee), plus Kristin Farr & Stan Sorscher from SPEEA Staff.
The meeting was designed to open a public discussion of the issues. We discussed public policy questions, economic effects, and considered how we can deliver high-quality medical services in an appropriate and affordable way.
Most people agreed that our current system needs fresh ideas and new approaches. Our members have strong interests in this area, and we want to be involved in any changes in a constructive way.
One of the forum's panelists was Kathleen O'Connor, consultant, researcher, writer and industry analyst, who has over 20 years experience in various sectors of the healthcare industry. For more information on this issue, check out her "health care communications" website at: http://www.oconnorhealthanalyst.com
During the first month of this year, SPEEA Contract Administrators (CAs) in Everett received numerous calls from employees within the Manufacturing Engineering (M.E.) planning environment regarding a perceived change in working conditions for them to perform their daily jobs. Since this concern seemed to be coming in from throughout the entire Commercial Airplanes Puget Sound jurisdiction, SPEEA immediately requested a meeting with the Company (which occurred in February of 2001).
At that meeting, the Company shared information regarding a Special Technical Audit in Commercial Airplanes performed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during the first quarter of 2000. Since the time frame of this audit paralleled the 40-day SPEEA strike, employees assumed that there was a direct correlation between the two. (The Company however, noted that the audit was originally scheduled in July 1999 and was conducted per the agreed schedule in spite of the strike). Several findings of that audit were directly related to the quality of the Company's manufacturing plans (i.e. work instructions) and that they were below acceptable levels. The Company's response to the FAA was to establish the Manufacturing Plan Quality (MPQ) initiative.
The MPQ initiative was essentially the Company's commitment to the FAA to improve the quality of the manufacturing plan. This included the commitment that all of their employees who were able to access and modify work instructions would be assessed for their level of skill and accuracy. To further demonstrate the depth of that commitment, the Company pledged to requalify each of those employees annually in order to maintain a high degree of proficiency in the Manufacturing Reference List System (MRLS).
By late December of 2000, the Company had formulated the bulk of the framework of the initiative. The key elements that became the Self Audit 18 Point Checklist were a product of a collaboration of Leads, Senior Leads, and Subject Matter Experts (SME). This Checklist was tested and refined several times to ensure that it was applicable for use by all M.E.
SPEEA's Initial Concerns
During the initial briefing to SPEEA on February 6th, both union officials and employees from the bargaining unit raised concerns regarding both the initial communications and the beta testing results. Some of these issues were:
* Who has to be qualified and to what level?
* When does the Notice of Remedial Action (NORA) process commence?
* What is the level of feedback of results to each employee and is it adequate to assist employees?
* Is there a process in place to ensure improvement in the further development of the test?
Within three weeks of the initial meeting, the Company returned for a follow-up meeting addressing our concerns.
Where Are They Now?
The Company has committed to administering the O&IR (Operation & Inspection Records) Assessment Requalification annually. The process, similar to both M.E. School and CDS Requalification, tests employees' skills in that discipline, with the potential for job assignments to be contingent upon successful completion, and for access to MRLS to be limited only to qualified employees. The annual assessment of M.E. skills will occur in the employee's birth month. The employee's security level (Update or Approve) is first determined by the supervisor based on the employee's assignment and is adjusted up or down based on the assessment results.
If an employee fails on the first attempt, that employee's security is changed to Update and they receive a summary of the assessment results. The employees are subsequently given a second opportunity to pass the test. A second failure of the annual requalification commits the supervisor and the employee to work together and develop a remedial action plan based on the employee's needs. The employee then should utilize the entire time duration of the remedial plan to ensure successful accomplishment of the test. If the employee is unsuccessful on the third attempt, the results are forwarded to Human Resources for further disposition (i.e. full re-training at M.E. School, reassignment, reclassification, downgrade, termination, etc.) With a successful accomplishment of the remedial plan, the employee's security is reinstated and they remain fully qualified until the next annual exercise.
While the Company definitely has the right to ensure employees' continued competency in the jobs they are required to perform, SPEEA retains the responsibility to ensure that any change made by the Company in an employee's "working conditions" is done in a fair and equitable manner and in collaboration with the Union. SPEEA has tasked Council Representatives to monitor employees in the remedial stage of the process. CAs continue to meet with both M.E. and Union Relations representatives for feedback on what has transpired and to offer suggestions for process improvements in the future. Since this is an ongoing activity for the employees we represent, we anticipate more issues to arise and desire your feedback to ensure fairness and equity to our members. Our vantage point on this topic will be one of continued vigilance. [BR]
SPEEA Does Make A Difference!
A SPEEA Contract Administrator (CA) was recently contacted by one of SPEEA's Council Representatives who was seemingly stonewalled in their efforts on behalf of one of their members. After a brief explanation of the sequence of events, the CA asked for the employee to forward a chronology of what had occurred.
In this particular case, the employee, who was injured on the hourly payroll, recently transferred to the SPEEA bargaining unit. By virtue of starting in this paycode on January 2, 2001, the employee should have been eligible for the final airplane delivery bonus of $1000 issued a couple weeks later. Time elapsed and the employee never received the bonus. When he questioned the circumstances, he was originally told that since he was in the hourly unit and had received 10% of his earnings during their ratification at the end of 1999, he was not eligible for the final installment of the SPEEA bonus. (Since he was off on medical leave/disability during 1999, 10% of nothing left him a very disappointing bonus - nothing!) Upon further questioning of his HR representative, he discovered that his job transfer was posted approximately one week after the eligibility date, which explained why a check was not automatically cut for him. However, the situation appeared to be stalling.
After receiving the employee's chronology with a very explicit start date within the unit, the CA communicated with the local Union Relations focal. Once it was ascertained that the employee was active in the unit on the eligibility date, the parties concurred that a check needed to be provided to the employee. The CA communicated that action to the employee and advised him to be patient for two to three weeks to allow the necessary steps to occur.
The only role the CA played here was to help facilitate and expedite the process. The contract has very specific language on airplane delivery bonus eligibility and the parties could easily agree on the appropriate action once the confusion was cleared. [BR]
Working Together, We Can Make A Difference!
AWC presents "A Woman's Agenda for the 21st Century"
The Association for Women in Computing, Puget Sound Chapter, invites you to join their June program for an enlightening evening with Alene Moris, prominent keynote speaker and workplace consultant. Ms. Moris will share a "Women's Agenda", originally compiled by Eleanor Roosevelt and others in the 1920's. These issues, relevant to the workplace as well as the social arena, are ones that women care about and still need attention. For the last thirty years, we have been working to correct the obvious injustice that women have experienced through the ages but now it is time for women to articulate a positive, exciting vision for the future. Men and women working together can create a healthier, more equitable, more joyful culture based on the values that women have always cherished.
Alene Moris is a recognized seminar presenter for national and international conferences. She is also a counselor to individuals in career and life transitions, as well as a consultant to organizations experiencing major change. For her innovative work with women and men in transition, Ms. Moris was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Seattle University in 1990. In June of 1996, she was awarded a Seattle Community Catalyst Award and, over the years, has received many awards from local and national associations for her work on behalf of women and girls. Ms. Moris was one of the organizers of the 1995 Northwest International Women's Conference in Seattle and was one of the keynote speakers. She founded the Northwest Women's Institute as a follow-up to that conference to continue the education of women and men on the need for women in leadership positions.
As this is the final meeting of the year, they will also be awarding the AWC/PS scholarship and presenting the board officers for the coming year.
Tuesday, June 19th, 2001
Networking begins at 6pm; Dinner at 6:30pm; Speaker Presentation at 7:15pm-8pm
Best Western Executive Inn, 200 Taylor Avenue North, Seattle
(Directions - http://www.exec-inn.com/contact_dir.html)
Cost is $20 for AWC members; $30 for non-members (for dinner plus program). For program only, member cost is $10; non-member cost is $15. Registration Deadline: If paying by check, payment must be received at P.O. Box by Thursday, June 14th, 2001; for credit card - payment must be confirmed by Monday, June 18th.
Register online at http://www.awcps.org/register.htm or leave voicemail at (206) 781-7315. Then, send your check to the address below by the due date noted above to: AWC/PS, PO Box 179, Seattle, WA 98111. Be sure to indicate if you have special meal needs - vegetarian etc.
Training scheduled to help at employee orientations
If you would like to help build union membership at employee orientation sessions in the Puget Sound area, mark your calendar for June 19th and make plans to attend a special training workshop at SPEEA headquarters.
The training will outline the basic information now being successfully used to recruit new Boeing employees as SPEEA members. The session is set for 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 19, at SPEEA headquarters.
Once trained, members will be scheduled to help at orientation sessions now being held at the 7-22 building in Renton. These sessions usually require a SPEEA member and SPEEA staff member to attend for about 20 to 30 minutes. Members can help out at one or more meetings per month.
This training is necessary for Council Reps, Area Reps and interested SPEEA members who would like to represent their union at the orientations. If you are interested in helping, send your name via e-mail to SPEEA_Info@speea.org. Mark your e-mail subject "orientation sessions."
David Kehoe has resigned from his position as Council Rep for District T-2 (Techs, Thompson Site).
If you reside in this district, meet the one year minimum membership qualification, are interested in serving as a Council Rep and would like to apply for this vacancy - please contact Terry Hall for instructions (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206/433-0995, x130). Your completed petition should be in our office no later than noon on the day before the next Council meeting. The next Council meeting is July 12th - so the deadline is noon, Wednesday, July 11th.
If you are unopposed, the Tellers will seat you in time to attend the July 12th meeting. If there is a contest, ballots will be mailed to members in your district after July 11th.
CPI - April 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 April 2001 is 173.5. (On a 1967=100 base, the April index is 516.7.) This is a 0.5% increase from one month ago, and a 3.3% increase from a year ago.
Deadline to return Companywide survey is June 15th
Distribution of the annual all-employee survey began May 21st. Most employees with an Exchange address received an e-mail survey invitation, distributed over a four-day period to prevent overloading computer systems. Some employees who do not routinely have access to a computer or Exchange received a paper survey through company mail. Other employees, including some who have an Exchange address, received a paper survey from their manager or survey focal. When surveys are conducted in groups, distribution may not occur until close to the deadline. The deadline to return the survey is June 15. Additional information is available from local survey focals or the People Research survey team at (206) 544-1601.
Member could use your help
Maureen Holcomb has been a SPEEA member since she hired on with Boeing five years ago. About four years ago, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma (a non-operable tumor in her kidney area) and was forced to take a leave of absence. Now they have found two more kinds of cancer (myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myelogenous leukemia). She is currently receiving chemotherapy at Stevens Hospital on the 8th floor in an environmentally clean room. She is expected to stay there at least one month, possibly longer. She can't have flowers, but would love to receive cards of encouragement (mail to: Maureen Holcomb c/o Stevens Hospital, 21601 - 76th Ave W, Room 801, Edmonds, WA 98026).
Maureen is the single mom of a 17-year-old daughter 'Celia, who hasn't been able to enjoy her teenage years the past four years. And four years of medical leave and cancer therapy have devastated Maureen financially. She's not sure how she will pay her bills and help her daughter carry out plans for college (she wants to become an oncologist). Any assistance (prayers or financial aid) would be appreciated.
A trust fund has been set up at Washington Mutual in the name of Maureen C. Holcomb. Donations are being accepted at any Washington Mutual branch - or by mail to:
If you have questions, you can contact coworker Debi Pennington at (425) 266-9939.
Another sad farewell
I must sadly announce my departure from SPEEA, effective immediately, as a result of my promotion into engineering management.
It may seem odd that a long-time union activist could accept a position in management, but I have done so for my family, my career, and myself. It became obvious to me several years ago that my career would be limited if I stayed in a technical career path. This was not an easy decision for me to make, but I look forward to the challenges of my new position.
I have been proud to be a union member for most of my 22 years with Boeing. My last eight years as a leader, both with WEA and then SPEEA, has been a satisfying time - so much has happened in that short time. Wichita's affiliation with SPEEA, an affiliation with IFPTE, a reorganization of SPEEA, a new Wichita bargaining unit (with their first contract), and Seattle's 40-day strike, has metamorphosed SPEEA into a new union.
My association with SPEEA has provided me an opportunity to meet new people and travel to new places. I will treasure these experiences. I hope the friendships that I have made along the way will endure.
In my new job, I will continue to strive to remember those ideals we hold onto as union members - fairness, respect, and consistency.
I wish you all much success.
There has been some confusion among SPEEA-represented employees in regard to the process that transfers a specified amount of sick leave into an employee's FSP account. Article 6 of the collective bargaining agreements addresses the handling of sick leave and the Financial Security Plan (FSP).
The amount of sick leave available to use is called "unreserved sick leave."
Sick leave continues to accrue into the unreserved balance. Full-time employees accrue 8 hours for every 30 days, up to a maximum of 80 hours per year (part-time employees accrue sick leave on a proportional basis).
On the employee's anniversary date, a determination is made regarding how much of the available sick leave will be transferred to their Financial Security Plan (FSP) account.
In the past, there was a several-week lag time in transferring portions of sick leave to the FSP account. During that transitional period, the amount of sick leave to be transferred was called "reserved sick leave." Today, transferring sick leave usually takes about one week.
The next question is: "How much of my available sick leave is transferred into my FSP account?" Here is the formula:
1) How much sick leave did you earn during the past year? If you worked fulltime for at least 10 months, the answer is 80 hours (8 hours for each month, to a maximum of 80 hours a year).
2) How much sick leave did you use during the year? Let's say you used 20 hours.
3) So, you earned 80 hours but used 20 hours. This leaves a balance of 60 unused hours.
4) The contract states that "up to 40 hours of sick leave will be transferred to FSP" after deducting the amount of hours used from the number of hours earned.
So, in this instance, the full 40 hours transfers as follows:
80 hours earned, minus 20 hours used, leaves 60 hours. 40 hours is transferred into the FSP account. (Note: It is our understanding that non-represented employees are subject to a different process which can result in the loss of unused sick leave hours. However, that is not the case for SPEEA-represented employees.)
Finally, SPEEA-represented employees DO NOT LOSE ANY SICK LEAVE; whatever remains after the transfer to FSP goes back into your unreserved sick leave account. The remaining 20 hours in the example above would remain available for your use.
For specific questions about your unreserved or reserved sick leave accounts, talk to your local payroll office. For specific questions about your FSP account, call the Boeing Savings Plan information line at 1-800-553-9809. [MM]