September 28, 2001 Newsletter #1851
The SPEEA/Boeing Working Together Partnership Committee held an emergency meeting on Monday, September 24th to discuss Boeing's recent announcement of layoffs in Boeing Commercial.
Those in attendance were:
SPEEA: Executive Director Charles Bofferding, President Craig Buckham, NW Region VP Alan Rice, Council Chair Pat Waters, Contract Administrator Maria Nelson, Assistant Ex. Director Kurt Hanson and Communications Director Bill Dugovich.
Boeing: Hank Queen, VP of Commercial Engineering and Product Integrity; Dan Becker, VP of Commercial Operations; Geoff Stamper, Union Relations; and Wayne Brown from the Commercial Engineering People Organization.
Hank Queen described the situation as it looks currently. Airlines are flying at a reduced schedule and with significantly fewer passengers than before September 11th. Experts are estimating that it will take 2 to 4 years for commercial airlines to fully recover. Not only are airlines not willing to order new planes with the current outlook; but they want, in many cases, to defer delivery of previous orders. Therefore, Boeing anticipates that estimates for deliveries for 2002 will be reduced from 510 to 400, with additional reductions in 2003. As a result, they foresee a need to reduce the headcount in BCAG by 30% by the end of 2002. As many as 10% of the current headcount could be reduced by the end of 2001.
The Partnership Committee agreed that this is a real problem and our emphasis should be on working together and putting people first in this process.
Areas of discussion
The Company has data that convincingly show that this is a real crisis and we have encouraged them to share their data with all employees.
We have agreed to work together and use the joint committees that are already formed to address mitigation efforts. We have formed a Joint Mitigation Committee with members of the Workforce, Compensation and Benefits joint committees. The Partnership Committee will function as a policy board for that committee. We will meet weekly to monitor and encourage progress toward putting people first during these difficult times and ensuring that we have the right workforce to move forward with confidence in the future. SPEEA and Boeing will jointly communicate reports of these meetings on their respective websites.
Head count reductions are total
head counts, and therefore reductions due to release of contract employees
counts. This should reduce the number of SPEEA-represented employees affected
by the first wave of layoffs before the end of the year. Boeing wants
to shift our people, as much as possible, to displace contract employees.
SPEEA will be monitoring this process.
Although Boeing doesn't feel that, given the current circumstances, they are legally require to follow the WARN Act, they feel giving employees 60'days' notice is the right thing to do.
We also discussed military pay for reservists, the Moscow Design Center, and the effect of winning JSF on Commercial headcount/layoffs.
Boeing wants to place a real effort on scrubbing the WARN notices before they are delivered, to give employees a realistic assessment of their potential for layoff. They also want to be sure to keep the right skill mix for their employees, to be in a good position when the market eventually rebounds. The long-term prospects are good, but it is unclear how far away it is.
Both sides agreed to work together to lobby for federal and state legislation that could help laid-off employees. The parties also agreed to issue joint communications on this and other joint efforts.
The meeting ended with the feeling that good information had been shared by both sides. Boeing was able to explain their current situation, and SPEEA was able to communicate concerns and issues of the employees. A commitment was made to work together to develop mitigation strategies to help soften the impact of layoffs. Watch the SPEEA website at for further reports of these efforts.
Notes from the Executive
We have been through some very difficult times. There are still difficult times ahead. But, we - the people of SPEEA, the people of Boeing and the People of the United States - have been through tough times before. And just as before, we will get through this. We will NOT simply survive; we will thrive. We will do so by aggressively moving forward to make the best of today's bad situation and prepare ourselves to take full advantage of tomorrow's opportunities.
Making the best of today's bad situation includes helping those who need help - both inside and outside of our union. For those outside of our union: SPEEA and IFPTE have been encouraging donations to aid the victims of the WTC tragedy. In locals that have agreed, IFPTE will be soliciting members for donations. With the announced layoffs, we certainly have our own challenges, but SPEEA members have a history of helping others during our own time of need. At a rally during our strike, SPEEA members donated over $6,000 to aid out-of-work aluminum workers. We understand that by helping others we are also helping ourselves.
We are the best problem-solvers in the world, and we are helping those in our union by employing our problem-solving skills. We are currently engaging Boeing, State and Federal Government, other unions and a number of agencies to help people who want to stay stay and people who may want to go to go. We are also ensuring that anyone who is laid off gets maximum support, including retraining funds and increased unemployment insurance. The joint SPEEA/Boeing Partnership Committee has stepped up to this task (see related article above). They have commissioned a joint mitigation committee and will review their progress every week. Just one note here: SPEEA had prepared for this scenario. Our contract defines layoff process and benefits. The process includes using contract employees as a buffer and we expect to avoid tens of hundreds of layoffs for SPEEA-represented employees.
To position ourselves for the future, we are pushing forward with strong negotiation goals supported by a process that involves employees. We are focusing on the people (and skill mix) that remain at Boeing to ensure we have a good balance and are positioned to move forward when that chance presents itself. We are carefully monitoring how employment at the entire Company is shifting to protect against any outsource or offloading of our jobs with the current reductions.
One more thing: a big part of surviving and thriving is to begin a return to normalcy. The biggest boost Boeing could get right now is for everyone to get back on the planes. I believe that flying is safe and we should all get back to our normal schedules. FYI: I am writing this message while flying to St Louis. My report on flying is that the lines were faster than I have ever experienced - and everyone seems a bit more polite. Both reasons in themselves to get back to flying.
I am confident in both our
abilities and our spirit. We are facing tough times, but we are moving
forward with confidence and purpose.
Partnership Update - September 13, 2001
Staff member Maria Nelson reported a Working Together Partnership meeting was held Friday, September 7, 2001. In attendance for SPEEA were: Charles Bofferding, Craig Buckham, Alan Rice, Pat Waters and Maria. For the Company, Hank Queen, Wayne Brown (HR/Commercial), Charlie Johnson (SCAMP), Geoff Stamper and Sandy Harper (Union Relations), Michael Linfield (Organizational Development) and facilitator Gill Thompson. Maria said they have begun to schedule monthly meetings to develop a list of issues that need to be worked. They will then determine where the issues can be worked, make assignments and follow up. They are also considering getting someone from outside Boeing to facilitate these discussions, and guide the group through the Partnership activities.
Maria said they are still working on a proposed Letter of Understanding so SPEEA activists and those working on Partnership activities in the workplace can be recognized and given credit for supporting Union/Partnership activities.
The "list of issues" includes: Market-Related Pay ... appropriate level of guaranteed vs. selective raises ... and EIP (Employee Incentive Plan). Maria said that SPEEA has made it clear to the Company we are not in agreement with their position as stated in Hank Queen's email of August 31st (that Boeing engineers are "at market"). But the Company has agreed to study this and work with us to try to come to a joint conclusion, which is a good indication that the Partnership can provide a forum for working together on tough issues. These issues will be put on the agenda for our Joint Compensation Discussion Group.
Other issues on the list include: Company Neutrality during Union Organizing ... Engagement Process ... Employee Utilization ... Morale ... SJC Maintenance ... SJC Job Jurisdiction ... Health Care Cost Containment ... Outsourcing, offloading, work transfer ... Value of "person-rated" vs. "job rated" for the engineering unit ... Negotiations Principles and Negotiations Process ... and local issues.
Maria said they are attempting to make sure they capture the "big issues" and deal with them in a fundamental way.
Charlie Johnson from SCAMP was at this meeting, and he and Harold Croy have invited SPEEA to attend their A&M People Involvement Team meetings starting next week. Maria and another SPEEA Contract Administrator, Laura Anderson, are working with SPEEA NW Region VP's Tom McCarty and Ron Mathes on this. We are happy that they have invited SPEEA's involvement, and Maria will report back on this effort at our next meeting.
Maria fielded questions from the floor on why "results" from the Partnership are taking so long ... what is the timeline ...must we wait for negotiations; i.e., is the only thing that moves the Company the "smell of burn barrels"? ... and with the move of Company Headquarters, who will actually negotiate with SPEEA, and will those negotiations cover everyone?
Tricia Stromberg (D-10) said she asked that last question of Alan Mulally at our June 7th convention, and he responded the Puget Sound area will be treated as one for negotiations, and he will take the lead for the Company's side.
Asked what about activities in S&C, Maria responded she'd be happy to meet with SPEEA leaders in that organization to try to kick something off (like we did in Facilities/SHEA and Customer Support).
What is right for the PEOPLE?
Some have suggested, as mitigation for layoffs, that Boeing buy back some of their stock. But is this really a logical step at this point, in light of announced massive Commercial layoffs?
Richard Suttmeier, Chief Market Analyst with Joseph Stevens and Company, gave an interview about the state of the stock market on September 18th, and we believe he said it right. "We need to build corporate confidence," he said. "I don't want to see any layoffs. I don't think I would ever recommend a stock that they buy back shares at the same time they are laying off people. That to me would be a sin. I think the employees are more important than shareholders in this environment." There are three steps to this, build corporate confidence and investor confidence will follow, consumer confidence will follow investor confidence.
CPI - August 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 August 2001 is 173.8. (On a 1967=100 base, the August index is 517.6.) This is a 0% increase from one month ago, and a 2.7% increase from one year ago.
NW Region Council Highlights - 9/13/01
Newly-seated Council Rep Kyu Chong was introduced (District K-20 - Profs & Techs, Southcenter South buildings).
Executive Director Charles Bofferding reported: At SPEEA's request, the Coalition of Labor Unions at Boeing (the CLUB) held its first meeting, attended by several unions representing employees at The Boeing Company ... SPEEA is awaiting the ruling from an AFL-CIO Article 20 hearing that was held after an appeal was put forward by OPEIU/SCPEA ... SPEEA continues the process towards filing a petition with the federal government to initiate a countervailing duty investigation against Airbus ... a top issue for SPEEA right now is "compensation"; SPEEA plans to publish a series of articles on this subject, and joint discussions with the Company will take place in our Joint Compensation committee meetings ... organizing in St. Louis is moving forward; employees are leading the effort; we are helping them organize themselves (like we did for Facilities and WTPU) ... leaders throughout the labor movement are amazed at the organizing successes of SPEEA/IFPTE (we should be proud!) ... and we need to involve our Council Reps and members to stand with us in the workplace, engaging the Company to do the right things.
The Council PASSED a motion establishing a policy for publishing recorded ballots.
The Council PASSED a motion to seat retiree Gene Blackman on the SPEEA Ombudsman Committee.
Kevin Canavan (investment officer with AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust) explained the programs available to union members through this Union-sponsored investment company. They provide a 1/2% permanent mortgage rate reduction; 50% savings on origination fees; reduced closing costs (save ~$350); reduction of 1/4% in mortgage insurance cost; homebuyer counseling; and down-payment assistance for eligible buyers (buyers must put down 3-5%). They can be reached at their national office in Washington, DC (202) 331-8055; by email: email@example.com; or you can check out their website: http://www.aflcio-hit.com. In Seattle, the program is offered through HomeStreet Bank - 206/628-0207.
Maria Nelson provided the Partnership update (see related report above).
NW Region Treasurer Joe Gregg said he's considering forming a "finance committee" for the NW Region; interested members can contact him about participating.
NW Region VP Alan Rice spoke about his brief Boeing assignment as Project Manager at the Boeing Design Center in Moscow. Alan was assured that every precaution would be considered to avoid negative impacts to direct employees in the US (i.e., not taking creative design work needed to advance careers, and returning transferred work back if needed to avoid or postpone possible layoffs). Alan said he hoped this "gentleman's agreement" would be memorialized in a letter of understanding in the near future.
Ombudsman Committee Chair Laurel Reiff introduced her committee and explained they are there to provide a path for resolving problems within SPEEA.
NW Region Council Chair Jim Mathis noted retiree John Repp has been appointed as a SPEEA delegate to the King County Labor Council for the 2001-2003 term.
Negotiation Preparation Committee Chair Tom McCarty reported the kickoff negotiations survey was mailed out to all members in the September SPOTLITE. He encouraged every member to complete and return the survey, so the team is prepared with the members' desires for upcoming negotiations. We will be electing our negotiators at the February 2002 Council meeting. Vice Chair Judy Mogan encouraged Council Reps to collect surveys from members in their area, assuring maximum participation.
Treasurer Richard Taylor reported: we have deposited another $100,000 in our Negotiations Reserves ... our costs for Temporary Medical Insurance for new hires is up (but membership is increasing) ... we donated $4,000 to the King County Labor Agency for striking Roofers Local 54 ... expenses exceeded income this past month, mainly due to large orders of various membership supplies, and organizing costs ... for the year, we're almost $200,000 income over expenses.
Dependent Care Expense Account open enrollment
The Dependent Care Expense Account open enrollment period this fall will be 10/29 - 11/30. Enrollments will be handled through the Boeing Service Center automated phone system (1-888-247-2016). Employees need to have their SSN and PIN number when they call. Employees will be sent a Benefits Update to explain the process. Also, current plan participants have until 4/30/02 to submit claims for eligible expenses incurred in 2001. After this date, any money remaining in an employee's account will be forfeited.
Locke and Cantwell tell SPEEA they support aid for workers
Governor Gary Locke and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell on Wednesday, Sept. 19, pledged support for Boeing workers facing possible layoff as the airline industry struggles after terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
SPEEA Executive Director Charles Bofferding, President Craig Buckham, along with SPEEA staff and other union leaders spent more than an hour with the two top officials from WA State. Locke and Cantwell called the meeting to gather information about the impact of Boeing's announcement that 20 to 30 percent of Boeing's commercial airplane workforce could be laid off. The leaders also worked to formulate a plan of action to help workers.
The meeting (also attended by Rick Bender, president of the Washington State Labor Council, and officials from I.A.M. Local 751) focused on steps the federal and state governments could take to help workers. During the meeting, Bofferding and Buckham said Boeing workers face becoming more innocent victims of the terrorists.
"The Company believes their layoff numbers are correct," Bofferding said. "We think the focus of any airline bailout legislation should not simply focus on saving companies but should also help save the employees."
Locke and Cantwell said the entire Washington State delegation agrees that the impact on Boeing workers needs to be factored into the federal legislation. A decision on the funding package is expected sometime next week.
"Boeing workers should be treated the same as airline workers who are affected by this tragedy," Cantwell said, adding that both her and Locke were talking with officials from around the nation to gain support of the effort.
"Our first and foremost responsibility should be to our workers. They have families and rents to pay." Locke said.
SPEEA also started a lobbying effort on Wednesday. Letters were drafted and sent to key Congressional leaders and the senators and representatives in all states where SPEEA-represented employees work.
Locke also said WA State will research avenues for extending unemployment benefits in special circumstances. Cantwell said her staff is looking into several federal programs that could be used for Boeing workers.
Locke and Cantwell explained that their efforts are currently focusing on three areas:
1. Help Boeing workers by getting provisions included in the bailout legislation and where possible, extend federal and state programs to assist laid off workers.
2. Research the availability of help for Boeing.
3. Restore public confidence in the airline industry and assist the airline companies as they weather this crisis.
SPEEA leaders said the meeting was productive. "They both listened and understand the situation," Buckham said. "They share our concern for the employees and that is encouraging."
A workshop is being offered,
covering "Common Sense Economics" and "Campaign for Global Fairness",
presented by SPEEA members John Repp, Judy Campbell and
"Common Sense Economics" presents a view of the American economy from a working families' perspective. During the last two decades, we were told over and over that the economy was booming; yet many working people continue to struggle to make ends meet. Why? As a matter of fact, the average hourly wage of all workers in the US adjusted for inflation has declined 7% since 1973. The presenters will take a look at what is at the root of that decline and what can be done about it.
"The Campaign for Global Fairness" looks at how economic globalization has affected working families here and all over the world. The presenters will talk about the dominance of global rule-making bodies by multinational corporations and outline the union alternative.
Both modules are a project of the AFL-CIO Department of Education designed to give union leaders some facts to counter wide-spread corporate disinformation about these matters.
RSVP: All members are encouraged to attend this training. To RSVP for the session of your choice, please call the appropriate phone number listed above.
George Yamamura talks about "3 Questions"
For the pre-meeting on September 13th, we invited George Yamamura to speak to Council Reps on "Achieving World-Class Results with Skilled People". George is the person who initially created the "three questions" currently being used by Commercial Engineering in its "engagement" effort.
When he began this effort, he was a lead engineer on the IUS program in Defense & Space. At work, there were a lot of problems that needed to be addressed. Employees encountered interface problems, misunderstandings, overlapping processes, and no time to develop (and no extra budget for) improvements. There was low morale and low employee satisfaction. He wanted to help employees define a workplace that they would enjoy coming into each day. So he came up with the "three questions":
1.What is your current job satisfaction level? (1 thru 10, i.e., highly dissatisfied to extremely satisfied)
2.What is most important to you about your job? (Achievement & recognition, advancement & growth, relationships, salary, security, supervision, work assignment & responsibility, work environment, and other)
3.What are the biggest issues or greatest barriers to improving your organization (1st, 2nd, 3rd).
George said he personally tried these questions on himself, and was able to improve his own situation. So he decided to try them on his group. The initial responses indicated 26% of his group were dissatisfied with their job. They wanted credit for what they were accomplishing, and challenging job assignments with growth potential.
George said the formula for
success in identifying areas for change is: (1) Do the right thing (address
root causes, not just symptoms); (2) take small, do-able steps (achievable
within 60 days); (3) look for a simple solution (using common sense, not
just following a trend); and
George said his group was able to make some process improvement changes in their area. They improved quality, reduced cycle time, increased productivity and increased customer satisfaction. They saved the Company $1,500,000 through their IUS Software Underrun. After the process improvements were implemented, employee satisfaction in his group jumped way up.
George said one of the things they did, when they were calling a group meeting, they set an agenda outlining what the meeting was to accomplish. If there were to be any presentations, they had someone else review each presentation ahead of time. Because of these requirements, it was decided several of the meetings didn't even need to be held. They also had instances where they received several conflicting directions; they decided which level of management had priority, and that's the direction they followed.
George said he recently retired, but was called back temporarily by the Ed Wells Initiative to help get the engagement process going, utilizing these "three questions".
George fielded some questions from Council Reps on: what if "only pay matters" isn't everybody's definition of "salary"... what level of management will review the responses to these questions ... how much time should we allow to implement suggestions ... and the need for sponsorship (by management) and training.
George said he'd like to see more organizations operating on this premise. He encouraged Council Reps to share this with their colleagues and solicit their ideas. He said that Ed Wells is conducting workshops to help explain this exercise. [Go to http://edwells.web.boeing.com/ CareerLeader/UtilizationTools.html, or call Jim Hoch at (425) 393-9669 to schedule a workshop session.]
Maria Nelson said Managers in Commercial Engineering have seen this presentation, have a sense of what George was able to accomplish, and what they can also do. Employees in Commercial Engineering should start seeing this exercise in the workplace. If Council Reps don't think it is being conducted correctly, they can communicate what they learned today, and help guide it in the right direction. Council Reps outside of Commercial Engineering can also use this process independently in their own work organizations, if they choose.
Layoff help on the web
Http://www.reachingout-washington.com is a website containing information and resources for laid-off employees of The Boeing Company in Washington State. It contains information about jobs, training, events, resumes, careers, and services available. For more layoff information and resources, visit SPEEA's layoff section.
Contract Personnel Update
As of August 24, 2001, The Boeing Company reported there were 1,570 engineers, 977 technical workers, and 33 paycode 6 workers hired as contract personnel holding jobs equivalent to SPEEA-represented positions, broken down by major organization as follows:
Jobs with 10 or more
[No Paycode 6 jobs in Wichita had more than 10 contractors]
[Ref. go here to see list of all contract personnel by job classification, equivalent paycode and site.]
Midwest region News
WTPU Joint Oversight Committee members selected
Bob Cropp, Daryl Glamann, Bill Hartig, and Janice McCrary were approved by the SPEEA WTPU Council to be the Joint Oversight Committee (JOC) team members. They will represent SPEEA WTPU at joint meetings with The Boeing Company during the tenure of our contract.
Robert Cropp has been at Boeing for 22 years. He has experience in management and is currently a lead. He worked in the shop before coming to Boeing. He has good interaction with people and tries to be a proactive visionary. He will be a fair and tough negotiator for the rights of the people. Robert was on the Organizing Oz committee and is currently an Area Rep.
Daryl Glamann, Jr. has worked at Boeing for 21 years in both management and salaried positions. He is interested in contributing to the future of the Company and the Union to ensure our mutual future success. He believes that he can help the team in developing new and innovative approaches to address mutual areas of concern and interest. Daryl feels that not everything was covered in the contract and that there are still many things that can be added or changed to better the contract for SPEEA members.
Bill Hartig has worked at Boeing for 21 years. He has the ability to judge an audience and then articulate the appropriate message to acquire their understanding and buy-in. His face should be familiar to management and employees. He has been fighting for the good of the workers for many years including more than one organizing drive. Bill currently serves SPEEA as a WTPU Council Rep.
Janice McCrary has been employed at Boeing for 10 years. She has worked with employees and all levels of management and various organizations including People, EEO, Ethics, Labor Relations, Medical, return-to-work counselors, and Legal. She sees the need for consistency and improvement within some of the Boeing processes to make them fair and impartial. Janice is a good listener, communicates well, is not easily intimidated, and strives for what is morally right and fair for all employees.
The JOC is made up of Union and Company representatives to oversee labor-management initiatives. They may explore many initiatives including skill utilization and application, career development, compensatory time off, child & elder care, transfer process, healthcare costs & plan details, and new technological change that may affect employees.
SPEEA updates Layoff Handbook
Our updated Layoff Handbook has been posted on our website (and will be mailed to all members who receive a 60-day Notice of Layoff). It contains information employees should know when they terminate from The Boeing Company, along with numerous resources you can access when being laid off.