November 16, 2001 Newsletter #1858
The SPEEA Executive Board administers the affairs of the organization according to governing documents established by the membership and Council. Through meetings generally every two weeks, the Board prepares the annual budget, monitors expenses, and directs SPEEA's activities through the Executive Director. Board members also serve as interim negotiation team for any interim negotiations that may occur between formal bargaining sessions.
Seven members comprise the SPEEA Executive Board: President, Secretary, Treasurer, and four Regional Vice Presidents. Board members serve staggered two-year terms of office, beginning the fourth Wednesday of March. In 2001, the following are up for election:
How to Apply
If you are interested in filing for the SPEEA Executive Board election -- and meet the minimum qualification (SPEEA membership continuously for at least two years) -- you can obtain the necessary petition at the SPEEA offices (or call 206/433-0991 and we'll mail it to you).
Per SPEEA By-Laws, we will begin collecting petitions at SPEEA Headquarters no earlier than Wednesday, January 9 -- and the filing deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23, 2002.
The By-Laws require that nominations for the Executive Board will be made by petition, signed by twenty or more members of SPEEA. Petitions must state the Executive Board position sought, and must include the signature of the nominee signifying the nominee's consent.
Candidates will be asked to submit a photo, a 25-word-or-less qualification statement, and a maximum 250-word platform statement for inclusion in the ballot package. Also included in the mailed-out ballot package will be a pamphlet containing five questions determined by the SPEEA Council, along with candidates' answers (limited to 1000 words).
Executive Board ballot packages will be mailed to eligible members prior to February 27. Ballots will be counted on March 13, and the new Board members will take office March 27.
Contact one of the current Board members, a former Board member or a member of the Staff for more information on what is involved with being on the SPEEA Executive Board.
Schedule of Executive Board Election Events
Petitions due at SPEEA Headquarters No earlier than January 9, but not later than 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, 2002
Platform statements & photos due at SPEEA Headquarters By 5 p.m. Monday, January 28, 2002
(A photo may be taken by staff, if an appointment is scheduled prior to the January 28th deadline for petitions. Call 433-0995, ext. 126)
Ballots mailed to eligible members By Wednesday, February 27, 2002
Deadline for ballots; Tellers count ballots Noon, Wednesday, March 13, 2002
New Executive Board members take office Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Take this opportunity to become involved!
Notes from the Executive Director
At times like these-who can be thankful?
This will be the last newsletter before Thanksgiving. Given current circumstances, the title of this article might be considered to be a fair question. The tragedy of September 11th, the following devastation to our industry and our company, and the personal loss that we are either experiencing or witnessing in the workplace might persuade people to ask the question.
However, the real answer is that everyone has things for which they are rightly thankful. On a personal level we have the support of our friends, colleagues and family during tough times. We have our lives. We have the experience of today and the promise of a better tomorrow.
From a union perspective we have the protections and security that our contracts give us: a known layoff and recall process that can be monitored and enforced; guaranteed benefits and wages; and the power of a collective voice.
We have a choice about where we put our focus. We can focus on what is wrong and how bad things might be, or we can focus on what needs improvement and work to make good things happen. SPEEA is committed to working as hard as possible to make the right things happen. We are committed to help Boeing do a better job of balancing people and profits. We proudly proclaim that our number one priority is people. We continue to push for layoff mitigation efforts to ensure that people are treated humanely and Boeing is best positioned to recover with a vengeance when the time is right. We have a vision in which Boeing recovers and we have balanced demographics to allow us to move forward confidently and swiftly. We are working to see that vision become reality.
In the meantime we are monitoring what is happening, and working with Boeing's representatives to ensure that the contract is followed.
As for me, I am thankful to be part of an organization that has people as its top priority. I am thankful to be part of SPEEA - a union that is leading the way for high-tech unions. A group of great people who watch out for and care for each other. We are a great bunch of people, and I consider it an honor to stand among such a group.
So, again I say that the answer to the question "At times like these - who can be thankful?" is "everyone".
In tough times, those who are
doing OK can be thankful and help those in need; those in need can be
thankful for the help of their colleagues. Your personal support for the
SPEEA Cares fund is greatly appreciated. If everyone gives a one-time
donation of two hours of pay we can reach our goal. As for me, I have
given a full day's pay. Please join with everyone who is supporting this
Donate to help laid-off employees
The stories from employees facing layoffs keep coming.
A new engineer moved from Indiana to start work at Boeing on September 10.
A single mother with two small children is losing her job as a technical worker in Auburn. Like the engineer, her last day at Boeing is December 14.
The SPEEA Cares Fund was started to help people just like these two workers. Like nearly 600 other SPEEA represented workers, Boeing is releasing them just two weeks before the end of the year. It is arguably the most difficult time of the year to begin looking for a new job.
Donations to the fund are steady. But, let's also be honest, the donations slowed after Boeing announced an accelerated layoff schedule. The Company now plans to have most of the 20,000 to 30,000 layoffs take affect by June 2002 instead of December 2002.
Despite the acceleration, the SPEEA Cares Fund continues to grow. The fund stood at about $40,000 after the first week of November. "I Gave - SPEEA Cares" badge stickers are visible throughout the workplace. Council and Area Representatives have stickers available in the workplace. Receiving one is easy. All it takes is a donation to the KCLA/SPEEA Cares Fund.
The fund will be used to provide monetary gifts in lieu of regular and holiday pay to workers laid off on December 14. The goal is to make up for the lost hours and holiday pay these workers would have received if the Company had kept them on the payroll through the end of the year.
Disbursements from the fund will be made on or about December 21. Checks will be initially based on the two-week layoff list issued by the Company the first week of December. Employees on this list will have the opportunity to receive a donation OR donate their portion to more needy employees who also face layoff on December 14.
The fund itself is being administered with the cooperation of the King County Labor Agency (KCLA). Donations will be directed into the KCLA/SPEEA Cares Fund. The fund was created as a 502(c)3 charity, allowing donations to be made tax-free. Members, nonmembers and anyone else can contribute. Receipts will be mailed to people who donate. While the suggested donation is the equivalent of two hours of work, donations of any size are being accepted.
Give to the KCLA/SPEEA cares Fund Today!
Make checks payable to:
KCLA/SPEEA Cares Fund
KCLA SPEEA Cares Fund
Aerospace Congress and Exhibition (ACE) conference papers at Boeing Technical Library web site
For those who attended ACE in September and for those who couldn't attend, visit the web site of the Boeing Technical Libraries to get access to the wide variety of papers and presentations. http://librarypubs.web.boeing.com/ace/
In what year will my lump sum severance be taxable?
Employees being laid off effective December 14, 2001 are asking - if they select lump sum payment for their severance benefit, will that amount be taxable income in 2001?
Company Offices Compensation informs us that such payment would be made after the first of the year, so it will not be taxable in 2001 - it will be taxable in 2002.
Age discrimination in layoffs
Layoffs are extremely difficult periods, and we insist on a fair and orderly process to minimize human damage. One issue of particular concern is age discrimination.
Employees over 40 are legally recognized as a protected class under the law. A strong case for age discrimination might be made if a manager tells an older employee, "We are eliminating older employees in favor of younger ones." If you hear that comment, please let us know.
Another way to analyze the situation is to look for and interpret patterns.
Figure 1 plots layoffs over the last twenty years, giving some idea of the size and duration of the last 5 layoff periods. We are approaching the sixth layoff cycle since 1980.
The next series of figures show layoffs over the last 6 cycles, expressed in terms of age bands. For each cycle, layoffs are indicated by absolute numbers and by percentage of the population in each age band. In June 1995, about 880 Profs and 530 Techs retired under the early retirement incentive program.
Ideally, layoffs would begin with the questions: "What skills and experience will we need in 5 years and 10 years, and how will we get there?" Over the last ten years, our population has aged, driven by two factors; the employees themselves are now ten years older, and we have totally failed to attract and retain young employees. Our current demographics are heavily weighted toward employees 40 years of age and older.
Layoffs have always fallen most heavily on younger employees, although in the current cycle, the burden is shifting to older age bands. Layoffs in the oldest age bands are startling, although it is important to remember that the absolute numbers are much higher in the younger bands.
Engineers needed for GMDS
Nov. 1, 2001 -- The Boeing Ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment (GMDS) program (formerly known as National Missile Defense) has over 200 immediate job openings in Huntsville, Ala.; Washington, D.C.; Anaheim, Calif.; and Colorado Springs, Colo. These positions are primarily in the areas of systems engineering, software engineering, and test engineering. Working on the GMDS program is a great way to make a contribution to our country and our defense efforts. The GMDS program is developing systems to protect against ballistic missile attacks.
For more information on GMDS job openings in Huntsville, contact Grace Thompson (256) 461-3519 ... in Anaheim and Colorado Springs, contact Verna Warriner (714) 762-7924 ... and in Washington, DC, contact Joe Frazier (703) 872-4376.
For online information about these jobs: http://jobs.web.boeing.com/
For information about the Huntsville, Ala., area: http://www.joinboeinghuntsville.com/
And for more information on the GMDS program: http://bweb.ana.bna.boeing.com/nmdlsi/
Contested Council Districts
On November 7th, the Tellers Committee validated petitions for Council Rep which had been submitted by the monthly noon deadline. The following reps were seated unopposed:
E-14 Keith Neal (Techs, Everett, 40-88 Building)
E-40 Kim Ohlmann (Profs & Techs, Everett, 45-70, 45-80, 45-801 Buildings)
K-10 Linda Walter (Profs & Techs, Renton Benaroya)
In three districts, there were more valid petitions received than positions available. Thus, ballots were mailed out to members in the three districts - and must be returned by noon on Wednesday, November 28th in order to be counted. The order of names on the ballots for the three districts is shown below:
Congratulations, Lane Ballard!
On October 1st, SPEEA member Lane Ballard was chosen as the recipient of the 2001 William Allen Award for the Northwest Region. This award is handed out annually to outstanding Boeing volunteers.
During the week, Lane is a manufacturing engineer doing research in new airplane program development in Everett. Sundays find him in Seattle's Children's Hospital playroom, where is he assigned a child patient, up to age 11, to play with. On Wednesday evening, he's back at Children's Hospital working as a Teen Zone volunteer with kids ages 12 to 21.
He also helps out during special events. For the past three summers, he has spent vacation time at the Stanley Stamm Children's Hospital Camp. At this camp, children with special needs are able to participate in regular camp programs like horseback riding and swimming.
Some Thursday evenings, you may find Lane waiting tables at FareStart, an organization that trains homeless people for careers in the restaurant business. His customers tip well, which is good, because all tips go to help fund the organization.
Lane says he got hooked on volunteering as a teenager, when he went to Jamaica to help repair hurricane damage. He finds a lot of positive in his volunteer efforts, and plans to continue doing this the rest of his life.
Retention Exercise Q & A (Puget Sound contracts)
Q: Is it true that the Company has decided to "slide" the Retention Exercise? Isn't that a violation of our contracts?
A. No, Last spring the Company had sought to "slide" the Retention exercise into the next calendar year. But SPEEA's Council voted in July to reject that request.
Our contracts require that an exercise be held each year. The Company has the prerogative to choose the time to complete the exercise within the year. Therefore, the decision to complete the upcoming Retention Exercise on December 17 (instead of the previously-scheduled date of November 21) does not violate our contracts. The new 2001 retentions will be effective on December 17th.
Q. If I have a Lay Off Notice, will I be considered in the next Retention Exercise?
A. Those employees with a layoff date prior to December 17 will not be included in the upcoming Retention Exercise. However, if the layoff does not take effect on or before December 14th (i.e., layoff is delayed or layoff notice is rescinded), employees who had been slated for layoff will then be assigned retention rating R3.
A member recently came into the SPEEA offices identifying his personal concerns that he was being accused of doing another unit's work while he was attempting to accomplish the jobs he was assigned by his supervisor. By coming to the Union, the employee was earnestly seeking to understand the tasks he could perform contrasted to the work of the hourly employees he worked beside.
In order to get an understanding of all the jobs in question, SPEEA Contract Administrators (CAs) contacted the Company Union Relations focal and had her set up a meeting with management, the SPEEA Council Representative, the hourly Stewards, the employee and the CAs. The parties discussed the respective daily tasks of both the hourly employees and the engineer. Common to their job descriptions was language that permitted both the collection and analysis of data. The difference for the employees relied on the purpose for the collection and the complexity of the analysis involved. Once the parties understood what their counterparts were doing, the next action was for the representatives to go back to their constituencies and explain that there had been no apparent violations of the parties' bargaining unit work.
During these times of potential downsizing, employees from all payrolls seem to be more attentive to who is performing what work. The SPEEA offices continue to be besieged by employees seeking clarifications of management's assignments of bargaining unit work. If you have a concern in your immediate area, contact you local Council Representative for assistance. [BR/MM]