August 31, 2001 Newsletter #1848
to staff vacations, there will be NO newsletter on September 7th.
Mention Labor Day and most people conjure up images of a day off work. They might be going to a baseball game, visiting relatives, or planning a backyard barbeque.
Carpenter Peter J. McGuire had a different idea when in 1882 he suggested a day be set aside to honor the lowly working-class person.
A working class familiar with six-day workweeks, 12-hour shifts, subsistent-wages and factories where pre-teenage workers were common immediately grasped McGuire's idea. McGuire, who later helped found the American Federation of Labor (AFL), pressed forward with the idea to hold a parade that would show "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations." On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers paraded down the street in New York City.
Labor Day is unique among holidays. When most holidays commemorate a war, hardship or honor a person's passing, Labor Day honors the people who toil to build things. One hundred years ago it was the textile mill worker, factory worker or other laborer. Today, the word laborer can be all-encompassing and includes scientists, pilots and CATIA terminal workers.
History shows there is nothing particularly special about the choice of early September for the holiday. Proponents simply thought the gap between July 4th and Thanksgiving was the appropriate spot for a new holiday.
Acceptance of Labor Day as a true holiday follows closely with the advent of labor unions. As unions pushed for laws against child labor and a fair workweek, support also grew for a holiday that honored the America worker.
SPEEA member (and Tellers Chairman) Jean Ray relates these accomplishments to Labor Day.
"Labor Day represents many of the good things in our work life that unions fought for, a shorter work week, medical benefits, better working conditions, grievance procedures and job protection," she said.
City governments were the first to grab onto the idea of a holiday honoring workers. In 1887, Oregon became the first state to recognize the first Monday in September as a legal holiday. Seven years later, with the shelter of a depression to deflect the wrath of business, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill making Labor Day a national holiday.
While some of us may forget the roots of the holiday, the founding fathers of Labor Day would probably take solace in the knowledge that the day has become an accepted holiday and welcome day of leisure for millions of workers.
Significant dates for labor
1882 - First observance of Labor Day
1894 - National holiday created
1932 - "New Deal" creates minimum wage
1944 - SPEEA formed at Boeing for engineers in Puget Sound
1972 - Techs organize under SPEEA
1995 - Wichita engineers choose SPEEA
2000 - WTPU employees organize under SPEEA
2001 - WTPU negotiates contract in less than one year
2002 - Bargaining begins for Puget Sound & Wichita engineers
In Memoriam - Joe Tyo
SPEEA member Joe Tyo passed away on Monday, August 20th in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident. Joe was a Boeing employee for 15 years and was loved and well respected by his coworkers. Joe was passionate about Classic Cars and Motorcycles and recently organized a Car and Bike show at Boeing's Harbour Pointe facility. Joe walked the line during the strike and was a colorful and extremely enthusiastic picketer. Joe kept his Picket Captains on their toes, and those of you who walked the line with Joe know what that means. Joe's laughter, enthusiasm and presence will be sorely missed by those he touched.
Joe is survived by his mother, six brothers and sisters and his 14-year-old son Kyle. Donations for Kyle can be sent to Kyle Tyo, c/o Washington Mutual Bank, Acct # 388-620248-6, Silver Lake Branch, 11014 19th Ave S., Everett, WA 98208.
Notes from the Executive
This is the last newsletter before Labor Day, and it is fitting that we spend a little time talking about the labor movement.
If I were to bare my soul, I would have to say that, in the course of my life, I have had varying views of labor. I am happy to report that over the last ten years, my appreciation for the labor movement has only increased.
Too many people don't realize the good the labor movement has done for us. The labor movement got us the weekend, brought us the 8-hour workday, and provided medical benefits and pensions. Many say "companies give those things today - we don't need the labor movement any more." The fact is, today companies are working their hardest to remove many of the benefits that workers have accumulated over the past decades.
Is anyone at Boeing concerned about reductions in medical benefits? Is anyone worried about losing early retiree medical (for those who haven't already lost it)? You bet. Why? Because we know the profit pressures on Boeing will eat our pay and benefits unless we stand strong for solutions that honor people as well as profits. We are worried because many of us have no defense; and if Boeing takes away their benefits, the benefits of union-represented employees will be at risk too.
We need unions. Managers aren't bad people; but they are people under a LOT of pressure to increase profit. The concept is very simple. By the rules of incorporation, managers are required to represent the shareholders and get them as much profit as possible. Unions are required to represent and serve the people who form them. There are processes that determine our wages, hours, working conditions and the amount of respect our professions get in the workplace. Without a union, management alone runs those processes; there is no one with the employees as their first concern. With a union, the people engage the process as equals (hopefully as partners) with management to work out solutions that balance people and profits.
Labor is not what you might think and is moving forward in a changing environment.
Just last week, I and seven other representatives from SPEEA attended the Washington State Labor Convention in Wenatchee. It was the first convention for most people in our group (Chris Glenn was a guest at last year's convention); and it is safe to say that everyone came away with a renewed respect and appreciation for labor.
Frankly, I wasn't sure what to expect, and some of the old stereotypes of labor were haunting me before the convention; I was a bit uneasy. My experiences eased all my concerns. Coming away from the convention, I can say that SPEEA has a very good friend in our State Labor Organization. Organized labor is very progressive and is taking on important issues in ways that make sense. Labor is no monolith, and tough issues were discussed and debated. In the end, people found ways to disagree agreeably and support each other as much as possible. The overriding commitment was to doing what was in the people's best interest in ways that made entire communities better.
The labor movement of today understands that we are part of something much bigger and that we must partner with other groups and interests to help move our interests, communities, professions and nation forward. We are doing this with local community based programs to promote human rights and respect for all people.
The future of the labor movement is exciting. Certainly there are challenges, but that just makes the satisfaction from success greater.
We get Monday off as the Labor Day holiday. Do focus on your family and friends and enjoy the day, but also take some time to reflect on all that the Labor Movement has achieved and be thankful. Be thankful that we have great people who are committed and effective. Be thankful for all the people who have gone before and all those who are on their way. And also give some thanks to the good people that are here today.
Equifax alerts consumers to misinformation being spread
SPEEA reprinted an article in our August 3rd newsletter concerning credit information and opt-out privileges. The article stated that as of July 1, the four major credit bureaus including Equifax, Experian, Trans Union and Innovus will be able to release your credit information -- mailing addresses, phone numbers, and other information to anyone who requests it.
Equifax' website now notes:
This is totally false". Credit
information is available ONLY to legitimate businesses that have a permissible
purpose for obtaining it under the provisions of the federal Fair Credit
Reporting Act [ref: http://www.equifax.com/about_efx/rights.html].
A recent law passed requiring
financial institutions to give their customers the opportunity to OPT-OUT
of information-sharing with other financial institutions as of July 1.
It appears as though the article has confused this law with the opt-out
information line. The two functions are not the same. This opt-out information
line represents only the four credit bureaus mentioned, not the financial
institutions governed by the new law.
SPEEA secures NONIND leave for Wichita engineers
WICHITA - SPEEA-represented engineers in Wichita can now use non-industrial leave with pay (NONIND) for partial day absences starting September 1, 2001 without having to first exhaust their unreserved sick leave accounts.
The policy change allows employees to use NONIND for medical and dental appointments and other partial-day absences where employees previously had to use "sick leave".
SPEEA recently negotiated a side letter with the Company outlining the change.
The change for Wichita engineers comes on the heels of a similar change for the Puget Sound bargaining units.
The Company could have chosen to fight this issue in regards to Wichita employees. Instead, they chose to enter a principled dialogue on the matter and ultimately chose to adopt more favorable terms for SPEEA-represented employees. SPEEA exempt employees should continue to attempt scheduling of medical appointments during non-working hours whenever possible. When using paid time off, SPEEA exempt employees should consider flexing their hours to help the Company reduce costs.
"Free Trade vs. Fair Trade" seminar in Wichita
Juliette Beck, Coordinator of Economic Rights Campaign for the Global Exchange, will be addressing the issue of "Free Trade VS. Fair Trade: The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)" on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and Wednesday, September 12, 2001. This presentation is being sponsored by the Wichita Area Globalization Coalition. Beck focuses on defeating corporate globalization enterprises that advocate undemocratic policies dealing with economic issues. In addition, she promotes fair trade in order to protect not only the rights of workers but also of communities and the environment. Locations and times are listed below.
The presentation is open
to the public and there is no charge for admittance.
ATTENTION: Area Reps - have you re-endorsed?
Each year, we ask that Area Reps "re-endorse" if they wish to remain on our mailing list. This is the only way we have of cleaning up the mailing list and saving unnecessary costs. Most Area Reps have re-endorsed, but some have not.
By looking at the label on the envelope containing this newsletter, you can see whether or not you have re-endorsed. If your label says "2001", you have NOT re-endorsed. If your label says "2002", you HAVE re-endorsed.
If you are NOT re-endorsed, but wish to continue serving as an Area Rep (i.e., receiving the newsletter so that you can route it to members in your area), please contact Terry Hall at email@example.com. Include your name, clock number, and home mailing address.
NOTE: All Area Reps who have NOT re-endorsed will be DROPPED from the mailing list effective with the next Newsletter mailing.
Area Rep training - mark your calendar!
SPEEA will be providing training for Area Reps on the following dates. Please pick one of these dates, mark your calendar, and plan to attend!
Watch our publications for more information about this training. You can RSVP by calling the appropriate phone number listed above.
Any SPEEA member is welcome to attend this training, whether you currently serve as a Union Representative or whether you are thinking about taking on that role in the future.
Performance Management "Interim Review" due for completion September 7th
The schedule for this year's Performance Management exercise indicates that the "Interim Review Phase" will be conducted between August 6th and September 7th.
Have you and your manager scheduled this contractually-required discussion? If not, we encourage you to take the initiative and do so today.
The goal of Performance Management is to improve individual and organization performance, and promote effective communication between employees and their manager. The Interim Review is designed to assess previously defined job responsibilities, goals, measures and action plans.
Performance Management, like any tool, can only be valuable when put to use.
Certification training offered for GD&T professionals
SPEEA-represented employees interested in pursuing their certification as a Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing Professional by the American Society of Manufacturing Engineers can take advantage of special certification preparation this fall. The certification test will be administered by the ASME in early December.
Thanks to the recently-formed GD&T Technology Interest Group at Boeing, employees preparing for the test will have access to a self-assessment tool, a special certification training course, study sessions and access to GD&T experts at Boeing.
The certification training course will be conducted by Bob Nickoliasen P.E. on Tuesday-Thursday, November 27-29, 2001. Registration information is available at the GD&T TIG website or by calling James A. Day at (425) 234-3796. The GD&T TIG website is http://webevt01.ca.boeing.com/hr/hr_etd/hr_cs/gtd/gdtig/index.htm
The Ed Wells Initiative is funding the training course and will provide the standard and study guides to those committed to taking the GDTP exam. More information on the exam can be found at the ASME web site:
Recently, a member in Everett contacted his contract administrator after he had been denied medical coverage for his wife.
The member had married a foreign national and since she had no social security number, he assumed that she could not be added to his insurance. [Lesson #1 - Never assume you will not be able to enroll a dependent for coverage - always try to apply for coverage.]
Nearly a year later, the member's wife received her social security number. He then contacted the Benefits Office to enroll his wife on his insurance. He was denied because the medical plan and the contract requires new dependents "to be enrolled within 60 days of marriage, birth, adoption, etc." [Lesson #2 - Even if you're in doubt as to whether you will get coverage, apply within 60 days. If you don't apply, you will be denied for sure.]
The Everett contract administrator knew that there was little chance of having the denial reversed. The member had already appealed and was denied again.
As a last resort, the CA contacted Kristin Farr, SPEEA's benefits focal, in the Tukwila office. After several phone calls and emails, Kristin was able to convince the Company's benefits representatives that this case needed a second look since this case included mitigating circumstances.
Ultimately, the Company benefits representative did "the right thing" and agreed to allow the member to enroll his wife.
[Lesson #3 - whenever your family status changes due to marriage, a birth, adoption (ref. Contract Attachment A, Section 3F "Changes in Status"), make sure you apply for coverage well in advance of the 60-day limit.] [MM/KF]
Roofers Local 54 reaches settlement and can now use your help
At their August 9th meeting, the NW Region SPEEA Council passed a motion to support Roofers Local 54 in their negotiations with area businesses to replace contracts that had expired June 20, 2001. We published a list of those businesses which were being struck, asking members to honor a DO NOT PATRONIZE effort until the strike was over.
We are now happy to report that Roofers Local 54 has reached a settlement and ended their strike after six weeks. Despite some language changes, the new contract includes wage package increases -- instead of the cuts that the employers originally asked for.
Although the strike is over, six weeks on the picket line has put a financial strain on many of Local 54's members. You are encouraged to make a contribution to help these members get back on their feet. Please make checks payable to "King County Labor Agency", earmarked for the Roofers' Strike Fund, and mail to 2800 First Ave, #126, Seattle, WA 98121.
SPEEA member running for political office
The following SPEEA member has reported he will be seeking political office in the upcoming Primary Election:
DAVID SIMPSON (incumbent) Everett City Council, Position 2
If any other SPEEA members are running for political office and wish to have their name published, please email the information to Robbi Alberts at firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Board mini-minutes
Thursday, August 23, 2001
ATTENDEES: Craig Buckham, Alan Rice, Jerry Robinson, Ron Mathes, Tom McCarty, Joe Newberry (by phone)
COUNCIL: Pat Waters, Hoyt Hillman (by phone)
GUEST: Joel Funfar
At this regular meeting, the Board:
Future meeting dates: September 6, 2001, October 4, 2001 and October 25, 2001
The meeting adjourned at 8:15p.m.
New discounters approved
At their meeting on August 23rd, the Executive Board approved adding the following firms to SPEEA's Discount List.
LaseHair Hair Removal Centre (Federal Way): (253) 838-4889 or toll-free 1-877-927-HAIR. 10% off on using state-of-the-art permanent hair removal service. They utilize IPL technology to destroy hair roots so they won't grow back. Visit website at www.myLaseHair.com for more info. If you are tired of electrolysis, waxing, plucking or shaving, they can offer fast, effective, safe and comfortable method for removing unwanted body hair.
(Boise, ID): Call Mike McMillen at (208) 336-2400 or 1-800-444-3805.
Family Group Dental (Federal Way): 253/838-3232. After deductibles are met, will accept coverage of Boeing Scheduled Dental Plan (Aetna) as payment in full for covered services provided at this clinic.
Shurgard Storage Centers,
Inc. (nationwide): 1-800-458-0125. 50% off first full month rate for
Dowell Company (760 N. Central, Kent) - 253/852-1700. 5% off all products, including sale items. Wood, gas and pellet stoves, fireplaces and accessories, tile, marble and granite, landscape products, pool and spa supplies.
Watch for an updated Discount List in an upcoming SPOTLITE.
Retirement planning and investing
Chris Martelli, CPR, Investment Advisor and Certified Financial Planner, will be presenting this free 2-1/2 hour workshop dedicated to retirement planning and investing:
This workshop will answer questions like: How much money will I need when I retire? How will inflation affect my style of living through my retirement years? What should I be doing with my investments now and into retirement? Which pension option should I choose? When should I take Social Security? What can I do now to prepare for retirement later? How does a Rollover IRA work and is it right for me?
A complimentary 1-hour personal
retirement planning consultation will be available to every attendee.
AWC presents: "Solving problems when people seem to be the problem"
In IT, your career advancement depends on your ability to solve problems. Yet, more often than not, technological complexities are one part of the challenge and people are the other. Sometimes your most brilliant solution may be blocked by competitive, territorial co-workers and/or bosses. So, how do you tackle the opposition and establish your ideas successfully?
The Puget Sound Chapter of Association for Women in Computing (AWC) invites you to attend their September meeting.
Molly Gordon, an executive coach, will inform and entertain in this lively discussion about winning in the larger scheme of professional achievement. With over 30 years business communications experience, she will talk about solving problems when people just seem to be the problem.
Since 1996, Molly has specialized in coaching professionals and entrepreneurs to play a bigger game, promoting new possibilities and then making them reality. She is especially skilled in coaching professionals and executives through transitions to new careers or new phases in existing careers.
[Ref. Web site: http://www.mollygordon.com]
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
[Directions - http://www.exec-inn.com/contact_dir.html]
Cost is $20 for AWC members; $35 for non-members (dinner and program). For program only, member cost is $10; non-member cost is $20.
Registration Deadline: By check, payment must be received at P.O. Box by Thursday, September 13th, 2001. By credit card, payment confirmation must be made by Monday, September 17th.
Register online at http://www.awcps.org/register.htm, or leave voicemail at (206) 781-7315. Then send your check to this address by the due date noted above: AWC/PS, P.O. Box 179, Seattle, WA 98111. [Credit card transactions are also possible through PayPal.]
Free retirement planning lunch seminars
Retiring? Do you know what to do with your pension and VIP/FSP distribution?
Kevin Cahoon, Associate Vice President, Retirement Planning Specialist, and Andrew Hergert, Financial Advisor, of Morgan Stanley will be presenting these free seminars for people about to retire that are considering a lump-sum distribution or rollover from their VIP/FSP and asking themselves: Do I have enough money to retire? What taxes and IRS penalties can be imposed on my lump-sum distribution? What are appropriate long-term strategies for my lump-sum or rollover that will best achieve my goals? If you are close to retirement and don't have answers to these questions, take an hour of your day to attend.
SPEEA members and spouses are
invited although space is limited. Box lunches will be provided for all
attendees. To reserve your space and request a box lunch, call Andrew
Hergert at (206)224-4203 or 1-800-733-4873.
art of complaining
Some argue that we've become a society of complainers. I often question my own actions as a labor representative. It's not always an easy process. I've never felt the urge to make an issue over every wrong I encounter. To do that would result in more harm than good. After all, there are many things that happen in life that just aren't fair. Whether it's due to chance or intent, we all face situations that leave us feeling short-changed.
When people feel slighted, they want action and they want it NOW! Right away, they want to get in contact with their representative. As a union representative for a number of years, I can tell you it's no picnic trying to deal with folks who are already distraught and emotionally charged over a wrong that's happened to them.
We are in the awkward position of trying to explain the realities of the process, without sounding cold. If we go overboard in our agreement with the complainant's issue, we can give the impression that we virtually guarantee that we will win their battle. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Space won't permit me to give a full explanation of all the factors involved in processing a complaint. However, I would like to offer four things to consider when you seek out representation.
1. Consider time demands. There are only 24 hours in a day. Processing a complaint can require careful research, documentation, and meeting specific time lines. If your Council Rep is overloaded with cases or other obligations, they are forced to prioritize. Try to be patient.
2. Be willing to provide assistance. Some people believe that all they need to do is pick up the phone, send a letter, or fill out a form, and the rest of the work is the responsibility of their Council Representative. The Council Rep's goal is to respond as quickly as possible to employee requests. However, the more information and evidence that you can provide your representative will help the process move along more quickly.
3. Be courteous. Often your Council Rep is trying to juggle a number of responsibilities. They can easily become overwhelmed with trying to keep up the demands placed upon them. This may sound trite, but it never hurts to say "please" and "thank you."
4. Be reasonable in your expectations. Too often, individuals blame their representative for what is out of their control, particularly if the problem is non-contractual. It's the old, "shoot the messenger" syndrome. It's important to look at your situation realistically. Even though you're convinced that you've been wronged, listen to your representative as they explain the realities.
A final note, as hard as it may be, there are times when it makes more sense to simply accept a wrong rather than pursue the complaint process. It's a decision that only you can make. But if you consider these four points, it may help you in making that determination.