June 22, 2001 Newsletter #1839
On Saturday, June 9, 2001, over 150 SPEEA Council members from across the country, plus staff, other activists and guests gathered in Bellevue to attend the annual SPEEA Leadership Conference. This year's conference theme was: "SPEEA - A Real Union".
SPEEA President Craig Buckham opened the event, encouraging participants to take what they learn today and share it with others in the workplace and community. "Grow for yourself so we can grow together as a Union."
SPEEA Executive Director Charles Bofferding invited SPEEA reps to gather together in a skilled core to make good things happen - to make Boeing the best Company in the world!
Council Chair Pat Waters (who's speech appeared in last week's newsletter) asked Council members to step forward as true leaders, being the best example of what a union can be. "The decisions you make and the direction you take will not only affect the lives of our 26,000 members" he said, "but also the millions of union workers in our nation looking for inspiration and guidance in their lives."
Next speaker was International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) President Greg Junemann. Greg congratulated SPEEA on being a "real" union - for conducting a successful 40 day strike, for organizing over 4000 white-collar employees in Wichita, for achieving Agency Fee, for over 80% membership! The purpose of today's conference is to increase the skills and abilities of union leaders, he said, and to increase SPEEA's power beyond where it is today.
Morning keynote speaker was Nancy Mills, Executive Director of the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute. Nancy offered congratulations on SPEEA's amazing accomplishments, which are still referenced in conversations in the halls at AFL-CIO and throughout the labor movement. She noted SPEEA's strike wasn't just about getting a bigger piece of the economic pie - but was about respect, and about having our union members' skills and experience utilized (instead of shunned & ignored) when making decisions on the future direction of the Company.
Nancy encouraged SPEEA to pursue a "High Road Competitive Strategy" - where employees are loyal and contribute to innovation and productivity ... where corporate strategy doesn't depend simply on costs ... and where systems reinforce a "high-road" strategy. But, she added, we must preserve our integrity and maintain our work standards. She invited SPEEA members to challenge themselves, rise above the work process, develop a strategy that will keep Boeing successful, mobilize members, and promote a true Partnership with the Employer.
Participants had the opportunity to attend three of six different workshops, presented in the morning and afternoon.
by Marian York, WORDpower Institute NW
Through audience participation, Marian provided examples of the power of thoughts and words. Thoughts and words are a source of energy. Those words and thoughts are, in turn, literally transferred by our brains and become the foundation for all the feelings, attitudes and beliefs we have about our self-esteem, relationships, health, performance and success. She demonstrated how important it is to focus on positive thoughts, and how negative attitudes affect energy. "Labels" also affect people's views; positive words get a positive response, and negative words get a negative response. With up to 75% of our time spent talking about what we DON'T want, we can unconsciously create problems, confusion and lack of time - instead of what we DO want: solutions, clarity and ample time. She shared communication skills to enable union representatives to communicate accurately and choose words that focus on solution even in negative situations.
by Kathy Sciacchitano, instructor from George Meany Institute
Kathy led the group in identifying issues of importance to our bargaining units at Boeing. She then led discussions on various individual and collective actions which could be used to address the identified issues. She encouraged Union leaders to strategically utilize grievances to support organizing within the union. Motivate members to get involved in being part of the solution, increasing membership support. Educate the community on the union's issues, to gain public support.
by Edna Oberman, EEOC, Seattle
Ms. Oberman explained the difference between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Boeing's EEO office. EEOC deals with enforcing federal discrimination laws. Boeing's EEO office deals with protecting the Company relative to those federal discrimination laws. She identified and explained the seven protected characteristics: Race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age and disability. She explained the major provisions of the EEO law: disparate treatment, harassment, reasonable accommodation (for disability & religion), retaliation and adverse impact. She closed by explaining the role of the SPEEA Council Rep when involved in EEO investigations.
by Rich Plunkett, SPEEA Staff Contract Administrator
Rich shared some of his knowledge regarding security investigations, including information gained at a recent training session on the topic. Using examples, he explained various techniques used by professional investigators when interviewing and interrogating individuals. Council Reps can be better prepared to serve as employee advocates, and protect the interests of members who find themselves the focus of such investigations, through a better understanding of the investigation process.
by Phyllis Rogers, SPEEA General Counsel and Paul Shearon, SPEEA Staff member
Phyllis talked about the National Labor Relations Board - its composition, jurisdiction, and its role in processing unfair labor practice charges and representation petitions. Paul covered ways in which the Board's processes have an inherent benefit to the employer in union organizing campaigns. He also talked about concerted employee activity that can have an impact on the employer's ability to use the Board as a tool to prevent successful organizing campaigns.
by Mark Moshay, SPEEA Contract Administrator
Since the grievance process is our main tool for ensuring the Employer complies with the contract, and since Council Reps are an important part of this process, taking time to learn the basic do's and don'ts is extremely valuable. Mark explained the importance of listening, and asking questions. He taught participants how to offer solutions while adhering to the process. He stressed that information gained by our workplace representatives at the first step can be instrumental in pursuing a favorable decision. This session provided participants with a basic understanding of the process and how to respond to employees who seek help with a possible grievance.
The purpose of entertainment at lunch is to lighten up the mood of attendees and prepare them for the long afternoon ahead. This year's entertainment provided just that! Don Bryan, highly-acclaimed ventriloquist from Canada, conducted a fast-paced, hysterically funny, customized presentation that kept everyone laughing even after his act was completed. [Special thanks to Staff member Mark Moshay for playing a major role in the act's success!]
Also during lunch, the Council recognized Hoyt Hillman and Linda Newell for their tremendous efforts on behalf of the Wichita (WTPU) unit. Hoyt and Linda are outgoing Midwest Region Council Officers.
The first afternoon speaker was Jimmy Tarlau, Organizer who works out of the international office of the Communications Workers of America in Washington, DC. Jimmy talked about innovation, spirit and what it means to be in the labor movement. He spoke about changing the misconception some people have about unions (e.g., Unions are dinosaurs ... unions are archaic ... unions are reactionary ...unions won't modernize). He noted that 30% of the workforce is now "non-standard" - i.e., temporary, contractors, independent consultants, day laborers, etc. We must find approaches to touch these workers, too. He talked about the programs CWA is putting together to counteract the misconceptions about unions, and to organize non-standard workers in high-tech industries (e.g., WASH-TECH and IBM ALLIANCE). He encouraged SPEEA to explore ideas to survive as a union in the 21st century.
Keynote speaker for the afternoon was Ken Van Osdol, a private consultant who provides training, facilitation and organizational development services for a variety of corporate clients. To counter attrition, Boeing recently brought in training for their management based on a new book "Love 'Em or Lose 'Em - Getting Good People to Stay". Ken said this is the first time he has spoken on this subject to a union in lieu of management. He spoke about the changing demographics in the workplace (e.g., baby boomers are leaving, and there aren't enough generation X'ers to replace them - there are more older and younger folks, but fewer in the 40-55 year age range). He talked about the shifting populations (people moving to California, Florida and Texas), and the change in heritage demographics (more Hispanics and Asians). There are more "free agents", telecommuters, and computer-savvy graduates. Employers will be forced to compete for good workers.
What makes people choose to change jobs, leaving their current employer? Ken said the top response was "exciting work, challenge". Other top reasons included: career growth/development, working with great people, fair pay and benefits, supportive management, pride in the company/mission/product, and a great work environment.
Ken said some managers are "jerks", a label given to managers who: intimidate ... withhold praise ... belittle people ... act superior/smarter, racist/sexist, arrogant ... withhold critical information ... steal credit from others ... distrust everyone ... humiliate or embarrass people ... always blame others ... show favoritism ... betray trust ... show lack of caring for others ... display "sloppy moods" ... and motivate by fear.
How do you get employees to stay? Ken said, you have to ask them! Find opportunities to discover what matters to employees ... value their differences ... trust employees ... pay attention to abilities and talents, match them to the job assignments ... provide plenty of feedback ... talk about the future ... discuss multiple options ... provide learning opportunities ... make career growth & development part of the workplace ...yield the power down ... learn from failure ... and influence employees' level of commitment. Ken closed by thanking SPEEA's technical community for allowing him 29 years of safe flying!
Alton Folks, Chairman of SPEEA's Leadership Development & Training Committee, thanked the speakers and encouraged participants to complete evaluation forms. Feedback will be reviewed by the committee to improve on next year's event.
Respondents who completed evaluation forms felt the most valuable part of this conference was: "Meeting and networking with reps from different areas ... the re-energizing and learning of new ideas ... participation of the audience ... progressive union strategy ideas ... the varied workshops ... inspirational speakers ... and the ability to connect with mentors".
Special thanks to Maria Nelson and other Staff members who were instrumental in making this Conference a success!
the Executive Director
This past Wednesday and Thursday, SPEEA and Boeing leaders met to hold our Mid-Term Meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to talk about the negotiations process (and ways to improve it), discover what is and isn't working that will have an impact on our upcoming negotiations, and begin to build relationships between our organizations.
I'd tell you all about the meeting, but I'm writing this article on Monday. Instead I will tell you what I intend to say at the meeting.
SPEEA is preparing for war, but fighting for peace.
We are committed to a real partnership in which we can jointly work the issues important to our respective constituents. Our first priority is the people we represent, but we are willing to work with Boeing's team to fashion solutions that work for all of Boeing's stakeholders. Our nature and our training is to be problem-solvers.
We want our relationship to be defined by principles that govern everyone's behavior and not by power that allows the strong to do whatever they want. We believe in joint problem-solving and want to make positive things happen in positive ways.
This is nothing new for SPEEA. Before our last negotiations, when asked, "Should SPEEA do 'Working together' in negotiations even if we have to do it alone?" over 95% of SPEEA members said YES. We believe in the power of teams and working together. We wanted it in our negotiations. Instead we had a power-based interaction forced on us. In the end, we proved our strength and power.
Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me
Even with the knowledge that we are capable of winning a power-based confrontation, we are, once again, approaching negotiations with a strong desire for working together. However, we now know that we can't do working together alone. We must be prepared for whatever the Company's team chooses - either principle-based (working together) or power-based. We need to prepare on both institutional and personal levels. This means opening up our minds to the power of a real partnership while simultaneously putting some money in the bank. If the worst should happen, we will be prepared - if the best happens, the December holiday will be that much better for everyone.
If the Mid-Term is successful, we will be on our way toward a principle-based negotiations. My guess is that we will all say the right words. My hope is that we make it happen this time. My commitment is to be prepared for whatever may come. Together we will define our future - let's make it a good one.
Mensah inspires all at banquet
Albert Mensah stared down another snake recently - a room full of SPEEA representatives and members.
Mensah, who grew up in West Africa and then fulfilled his dream of moving to the United States, entertained and inspired attendees at the annual SPEEA awards banquet.
Born in Ghana, West Africa, Mensah grew up in a village that had no running water or electricity. He, himself, did not own a pair of shoes until he was 8 years old. Yet, through perseverance and determination, he pursued his dream to move to the United States. Today, he lives with his wife and two children in Renton, Washington.
His keynote address about seizing opportunities was one of many highlights during the banquet.
Mensah's book "When the drumbeat changes," is available by sending a check for $17.95 ($14.95 plus $3.00 postage and handling) made payable to: The Mensah Group, P.O.Box 94308, Seattle, WA 98124.
Contract personnel update
As of May 25, 2001, The Boeing Company reports there are 1,636 engineers and 799 technical workers hired as contract personnel holding jobs equivalent to SPEEA-represented positions, broken down by major organization as follows:
Since the March 23, 2001 report, there has been an increase of 351 engineering and 261 technical contract employees. SPEEA continues to monitor to assure that our contractual protections (i.e., elimination of contract labor prior to a reduction in force of SPEEA-represented employees in equivalent jobs) are adhered to. We depend on our union representatives in the workplace to help us monitor any anomalies.
Skill with 10 or more:
Negotiation preparation committee seeks more volunteers
A committee has formed in the Puget Sound area to begin preparing for negotiation of our Prof and Tech contracts which expire in December 2002. The NW Region's Negotiation Preparation Committee held its second meeting on Tuesday, June 12. Committee members have signed up for subgroups to begin preparing survey questions. They will be holding subgroup meetings in the next few weeks to finalize those questions for our initial Negotiation Survey planned for publication in the September 2001 SPEEA SPOTLITE.
Once the initial survey is conducted and responses are received, this committee will begin compiling those responses and start preparing for a second survey just after the first of the year. There are currently 11 committee members, plus two staff focals on the committee, as shown below:
* former Negotiation Team member
If you are interested in volunteering to help this committee, please talk to one of the committee members, or call Robbi at (206) 433-0995, ext. 126 (or email email@example.com). Your participation would be appreciated.
Performance management training
The Performance Management "Interim Review Phase" is scheduled to be completed during the month of August.
The Ed Wells Initiative is offering "Performance Management in 60 Minutes" to interested Techs and Profs. A session was scheduled in the southend this past week, and there is one more in the NORTH END next week. The training will cover:
* What Performance Management Can Do
* Making the Forms Work for You, and
* How to Have a Successful Meeting
Space is still available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To reserve your spot, call (425) 355-2883.
Letter to Alan Mulally
Friday, June 15, 2001
Subject: The New Partnership
Thank you for taking the time to address the SPEEA Council last Thursday. I as well as the entire body was encouraged by your candid remarks.
I am optimistic about the upcoming negotiations. You may remember me, I was on the SPEEA Negotiations Team and I participated in several meetings with you when you were president of the old Defense and Space Group.
I will be at the Mid-Term Meeting next week and I am hopeful that we can work through some of the issues which will enable us to restore the trust which absolutely must be the basis of the next negotiations if we are to achieve success.
Besides the actual language of the contract, there is always an implied trust which should exist if we have truly bargained in good faith. At the end of the last contract negotiations, I stood in front of 6,000 plus members in the Mercer Arena and told them that they should reject that contract. Next time I want to be able tell them that this contract is fair to both parties and every member should ratify this agreement. But for that to happen, the members must trust both the Negotiating Team and more importantly the Company, which in their eyes will be you.
In conclusion for now, I just wanted to make a few observations.
In several different management presentations to employees, we see words to the effect "Some whining is OK".
I think we all understand the intent, but the perception it encourages is wrong. We actually don't have time to whine about imagined past wrongs. We need to get on with the business of repairing this relationship.
There is an expression I have heard "If SPEEA thinks it is a real union, we will treat it as a real union". The error here is applying your definition as to what a real union is. Without being arrogant, I think it is fair to say we will define what we are and that is not the 1950's stereotype blue-collar union which is at war with management and neither respects nor trusts them. We truly think we can forge a partnership which recognizes our shared destiny.
We think we can create a workplace in which each employee can develop their full potential. We want to be the highest-paid employees in the workforce and we want this Company to be the most productive, respected and profitable company in the world.
If you want to motivate people, give them a worthy goal. We asked for respect, but we are also willing to give respect.
Solidarity and Respect,
/s/ Tom McCarty
Zero tolerance = zero logic
By Mark Moshay, Everett Contract Administrator
Every time I hear the phrase "zero tolerance," I flinch. Over the years, I have come to despise the term. It is an illogical concept that has ruined reputations, jobs, and lives.
Like so many other "group think" initiatives, the idea of zero tolerance was born out of a desire to demonstrate a philosophy of strict compliance with certain requirements. I'm not certain about its origins, but my first awareness of zero tolerance came in the early 1980s when I participated in a training session on race relations. Since then, I've observed the use of the zero tolerance themes in alcohol/drug abuse, sexual harassment, and threat management policies.
Let me be very clear. No one should be subjected to discrimination, harassment, or threats. I agree that employers should deal firmly with those who behave in such ways. I also support the concept that alcohol/drug abuse policies in the workplace should be enforced to protect everyone concerned. But zero tolerance is not the way to achieve these goals.
I call zero tolerance a group-think initiative. By that I mean, it's one of those insidious catch phrases that virtually everyone uses, but we rarely analyze. It's become part of our culture. Someone says, "zero tolerance," and we just accept it as a normal part of life.
Years ago I was given a demonstration of a high-tech lathe at the shipyard where I worked. I remember the machinist telling me that the computerized lathe was so sophisticated that it could machine a part down to the hundred thousandths of an inch. I was impressed. However, the point I'm making is that no matter how precise that piece of machinery was, there will always be some amount of tolerance in the process. Can you imagine one of our engineers issuing a drawing calling for "zero tolerance" on the machining specs? There is no such thing as zero tolerance in the real world!
Simply said, nothing is perfect, not machines and certainly not people. It's one thing to say that certain behavior will not be tolerated. It's quite another thing to attempt to apply a policy that gives absolutely no judgment in its enforcement.
Zero tolerance gives managers zero opportunity to use discretion. Zero tolerance gives employees zero opportunity to provide extenuating circumstances. Zero tolerance gives us all zero opportunity to right the very wrongs that the policy is supposed to correct.
It's time that we begin to question the premise of zero tolerance. I realize that it will take more than simply writing an essay to turn the tide on this issue. In the meantime, those of us who represent employees in the workplace will continue to pursue every opportunity we can to inject common sense and discretion into the process - a process that often uses zero logic!
AESA offers flexible degree programs
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To help you earn your degree even faster, college credit may be given for "work experience" in areas related to the curriculum. Previous classes may also be applied toward your degree.
Some of the courses offered include: A&P Course, FAA Airframe & Powerplant, FAA Inspection Authorization, FCC General Radiotelephone Operator's License, FCC Radar Endorsement, Fiber Optics, Computer Building & Configuring, Computer Service Technician, Networking Technologies and Practices -- and more!
Call now to request a Portfolio Assessment or to enroll - toll-free 1-800-345-2742. Check out the AESA website at http://www.aesa.com.
Pilot parking program for second-shift at KENT, DC and MFC
In responding to employee suggestions, Seattle Site management will be implementing a pilot program for all second shift employees in Kent, the Developmental Center and the Military Flight Center, based on a recent site study of inside parking availability in relation to headcount. Effective July 16, the pilot program will grant second-shift employees the opportunity to park inside the gate. Parking credentials will be issued and will be valid at the employee's home location in unmarked stalls only from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m. This new pilot program will be re-evaluated periodically to assure maximum utilization without exceeding capacity for all shifts.
SPEEA members can participate in research study
SPEEA members are encouraged to participate in an online survey for a university research study. The project is designed to understand ways of building and maintaining high quality relationships at work. The survey studies how employees' expectations are being met by their company, and by their supervisor.
Please go to http://www.voicesatwork.org and follow links to the Boeing/SPEEA survey.
We hope to report on results and conclusions when they are available.
30% discount for opera Rusalka
Before the Opera House closes for refurbishment will come one last production: Antonin Dvorak's Rusalka. SPEEA has arranged for a 30% discount for this opera on the following dates (OCT is "Orchestra Center" and OCB is "Orchestra Center Back").
Seats are limited, and available first-come, first-serve. To reserve your seats, complete and return the coupon. Once ticket sales are complete, we will order the tickets and mail them to you (at least 6 weeks before the date of the opera). If you have questions, contact Robbi at (206) 433-0995, ext. 126.
SPEEA Discount - Opera Rusalka
Please send me the following tickets. Enclosed is my check (payable to "SPEEA") in the amount of $_______
OR charge $_____ + $2 handling fee to my credit card:
VISA ____ MasterCard ____ AMEX ____
Card # ______________________________ Exp. _____
Name ____________________________ Clock #______
W.Phone ( ) __________ H. Phone ( ) ____________
Mail to: SPEEA
Opera, 15205 - 52nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98188
for papers, participation:
The Institute for Women and Technology's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2002 is the fourth in a series of conferences designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. The conference will take place October 10-12, 2002 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the first international location for the series. The theme for 2002, "Ubiquity," focuses on the ubiquity of the impact of computers on our daily lives and the ubiquity of the impact women are making on this technical force.
"Each year, the submitted papers, panels, workshops, and posters exhibit an increase in technical merit and scope," said Valerie Taylor, Northwestern University, Hopper 2002 general conference chair. "We expect a strong showing from students and young investigators, in addition to well-established researchers. We strongly encourage submissions that cross disciplines."
Submissions are due October 1, 2001 for technical papers, panels, workshops, technical posters, birds-of-a-feather sessions, and Technology Innovation Forums (TIFs). TIFs are highly interactive workshops in which attendees brainstorm about specific products that will take advantage of future technologies. The Website for submissions, found at http://www.gracehopper.org, will be available after September 1, 2001.
"The Hopper speakers have always been leaders in their respective fields, representing industrial, academic, and government communities," said Amy Pearl, Palm, Inc., Hopper 2002 program chair. "Leading researchers present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today's technology fields--this provides a solid mix of technical talks and career-focused discussions for the attendees." Past speakers have included nationally recognized scientists such as Rita Colwell, Director, National Science Foundation; Marina Chen, Chair, Computer Science Dept., Boston University; Judith Klavans, Director, Center for Research on Information Access, Columbia University; Sheila Talton, entrepreneur, former President and CEO of Unisource Network Systems, Inc.; and Moira Gunn, Public Radio Host, Tech Nation.
Past Grace Hopper Celebrations (Washington, DC, 1994; San Jose, CA, 1997; Hyannis, MA, 2000) have resulted in collaborative proposals, networking and mentoring for junior women, and increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing. The Hopper conference has become increasingly well known as a resource for women in computing to network, share their ideas, and learn from their peers; as a result of this, conference scheduling has changed from once every three years to now once every other year.
The Institute for Women and Technology's (IWT, http://www.iwt.org) was founded in 1997 by Dr. Anita Borg with a mission to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology and increase the positive impact of technology on the world's women. IWT carries out this mission through its Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, Virtual Development Center, Systers online community, and Senior Women's Summit.
The Computing Research Association (http://www.cra.org) was the original sponsoring organization of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Contact: Ann Redelfs, SDSC, firstname.lastname@example.org, (858) 534-5032