November 30, 2001 Newsletter #1859
At the NW Region Council meeting on November 8th, SPEEA President Craig Buckham told SPEEA's leaders we could throw rocks, but our plan is to do things that will work for our people in the long-run - not just for our momentary satisfaction. Welcome to the new Boeing, said Craig. We've known all along that, in a volatile economic industry, there will be growth and contraction. But there are ways to manage this so you can avoid large peaks and valleys. Contract personnel are one way. Others include leaves for Education, Family, Sabbaticals, Industry Assist - allowing you to go someplace, but return to Boeing. We can also use better movement within and around The Boeing Company. That should have been a major advantage with the McDonnell Douglas acquisition. Instead, the culture changed in a negative way. Some evil business practices arrived, and we haven't been able to dislodge them.
Employees are going, managers will be going, and there will be organizational realignment. Craig said some SPEEA folks were involved in a meeting the other day where we learned about the reorganization. We'll be asked to help facilitate its implementation. But at what point will we be involved in helping make the Company a place we want to be? When will they ask for our input to the plan? Boeing thinks that people are afraid to change; that when they hear of change, there's a natural reaction to resist it. When in fact we're not afraid of change, but we're skeptical of doing something that's the wrong thing. Our members have an analytical need to say "change to what?" Craig said we will try our best to avoid having the Company do the wrong thing.
He said we've asked the Company to step up and tell us the truth - what is the plan for the future? They have told us they want to outsource the need to manage a volatile workforce rather than choose methods of training, cross-training, transfer, etc. They say instead they'll keep a stable workforce and outsource to suppliers the need to bring in and out people. Craig said he can understand why the Company may want to outsource risk, but they are also going to outsource profit ...they will outsource control of the product, the design ... they will outsource our jobs, the subsequent safety, and perhaps success of the enterprise ... they will outsource the heart and soul of our whole product system.
One Council Rep questioned the Company's desire to outsource risk, since we build the highest liability product next to nuclear reactors. He asked, has the FAA audited those companies that Boeing is outsourcing to? Craig said that is an excellent question to ask their Board of Directors: "Do you really understand the risk you are taking, that your whole business could fail completely?"
Another Council Rep wondered which other companies would want to take on the risk of cycles that the Company wants to pass off? Craig said that's another good question to ask.
Craig said it's the Union's job to say, "You tell us the truth, and we'll respond intelligently." We'll show them the wisdom, or lack of wisdom, about their plan. And we'll show them the value of our contribution. If we start throwing rocks, it will be harder to deliver the message that we are valuable. It will be easy to show we can hurt the Company, but our challenge is to show them our presence here is absolutely necessary for long-term mutual success - for us and the Company. We'll continue to work on it. We won't give up.
Notes from the Executive
We live in a complex world during complex times. It would be nice if we could simply focus on the issue of the day, solve it, and move on to tomorrow's issues. The problem is that many things are all happening at once and to represent our membership we need to be simultaneously engaged in a number of activities focused on a myriad of issues. We are.
Just a few short months ago, the big issue was compensation. Before that, during negotiations, benefits was a very big deal. Today's issue is Boeing's layoff schedule and the future of the company. Which of these is most important? ...a foolish question - they are all important, and we must work them all.. We are doing this by engaging the Company on many levels and in many ways. We have a number of joint committees including compensation, benefits, and workforce; and we use both SPEEA staff, elected officials, and represented employees to actively engage Boeing's representatives in a number of forums including the joint committees, Partnership activities and round-table discussion. And let's not forget the upcoming negotiations in Irving, the Puget Sound area, and Wichita.
Our universe is bigger than The Boeing Company and therefore we must go beyond the confines of Boeing to fully address our issues. We are. We are now an IFPTE local and are using our AFL-CIO connections to lobby and network at a national level. We are members of CESO (Council of Engineers & Scientists Organizations) and are using that venue to network with other American technical unions both inside and outside of the AFL-CIO. We are also working with UNI (an "international CESO" that focuses on private-sector unions including Professional Managerial and Scientific employees). Through CESO and UNI, we are in the process of organizing the Third International Conference for Engineering, Professional and Technical Unions. CESO was a sponsor of the first two conferences. With UNI, we are exploring the possibility of a virtual committee of unions representing Boeing employees worldwide. We are also exploring the possibility of obtaining the employee-employer agreements between Airbus companies and the unions representing their employees.
We have many irons in the fire
and we do a pretty good job of keeping them all hot. As complex as all
this may seem, there is one constant that drives all of our activity:
representing and serving the members in our Bargaining Units. Above
all else, we value and respect people. We believe that people
are the source of all of Boeing's accomplishments and our actions support
this view. It is this principle that guides our action regardless of the
problems we face. It is this single guiding principle that allows us to
work all our problems at once and maintain our focus
Derail "Fast Track"- Contact your Congressperson regarding Trade Promotion Authority
SPEEA's Council voted on May 10, 2001 to oppose the implementation of "trade promotion authority", previously known as "fast track", noting lawmakers must be able to vote on trade agreements with the benefit of a full debate.
SPEEA leaders sent letters to members of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade, stating our opposition to trade promotion authority for several reasons. The most important reason is that it does not require the president to include enforceable protections for workers' rights (such as collective bargaining rights and bans on child labor, compulsory labor and discrimination) in our trade agreements. To ensure that the nation's trade agreements are fair and reasonable, any trade negotiating authority Congress adopts must require inclusion of workers' rights in the core of all trade agreements. HR 3005 contains no such requirement.
Additionally, HR 3005 would put undue limitations on lawmakers. Congress would not be able to vote on trade agreements with the benefit of a full democratic debate, or have the ability to add amendments to trade policy. Furthermore, HR 3005 lacks adequate procedures for constituents and the public to consult with Congress before voting on trade agreements.
After several false starts because of lack of support, backers of Fast Track trade authority have scheduled a vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday, December 6th.
SPEEA members are encouraged to contact their Congressperson - voicing your concern over the trade deal's lack of workers' rights and environmental protections - by calling the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121, by calling 1-800-393-1082, or you can get their phone numbers off the web site for the House (www.house.gov)
For more information or to send an e-mail to your lawmaker, visit www.aflcio.org/globaleconomy.
NW Council highlights - November 8th
The NW Council elected Pete Mueller to fill the vacancy on the NW Tellers Committee.
Portland Council Rep Chris Carpenter thanked Contract Administrator Rich Plunkett for helping six Portland members receive their upgrades, four of them retroactive to October 2000 (the time of the SJC conversion). In one case, the employee had recently passed away, but his beneficiaries were paid his retroactive promotion money!
The Council thanked the Negotiation Preparation Committee members who are working hard to compile results from the recent negotiations survey.
SPEEA's Treasurers are meeting and attempting to prepare a forecast budget for SPEEA covering the next few years.
Results of the recent Wilson Research Center telephone polling of SPEEA members (July-Sept 2001) were shared with the Council:
Members are encouraged to donate to the KCLA/SPEEA Cares Fund which was established by SPEEA to help provide income to laid-off employees through the holidays.
NW VP Ron Mathes reported the Board is involved in "effects bargaining" over the Company's proposed changes to paychecks ... the Board has approved funding for membership services such as Robin Ryan seminars to help members find new jobs ... Ron said he will be attending the Fall CESO meeting with other SPEEA delegates.
DER Concerns Committee Chair Gary Hamatani reported his committee has been very active, working directly with the Company. Earlier this year, a partnership agreement was developed between SPEEA's DER Committee and BCA's Regulatory Compliance organization. The goal is for the parties to explore options and make recommendations to further our Commitment to Safety while enhancing the quality, cost, cycle time and morale. SPEEA is attempting to address workforce and skill issues in a problem-solving environment. The majority of DER's are represented by SPEEA, and our goal is to work with the Company to assure changes do not take us out of the certification loop. Staff member Stan Sorscher has been participating in joint meetings, and we are also working closely with FAA Specialist Engineers (who are unionized under NATCA).
Joel Funfar reported on recent activities of the King County Labor Council. Settlement was reached in the Charleston Five case ... Starbucks employees finally settled on a contract ... the University added Research Students to the UW Graduate Students group; over 50% have signed up, so the university now has to worry about the effect of a work stoppage by these research students in the future ... Greg Nichols thanked SPEEA for allowing him to speak at a recent L&PA Committee meeting ... members are encouraged to apply for openings on their local labor council (see related article).
NW Council Chair Jimmie Mathis will be appointing a Negotiation Team Nominating Committee. Interested members should contact him. (The Committee should contain reps from the Executive Board, Prof & Tech Council, and former Negotiation Team members.)
Executive Director Charles Bofferding reported Council Reps are the "Union in the workplace", and it's important they communicate with the members in their districts ... SPEEA needs to focus our discussions with the Company on how they think they will look in the future (profits shouldn't be number one - people should be number one); we need to hold them accountable, but we also need to stay connected so we can move them in the direction we think they should go ... SPEEA will keep focusing the Company on our layoff mitigation ideas ... SPEEA continues to monitor data and investigate complaints in the workplace ... SPEEA continues to network with other groups: IFPTE, CESO, other labor unions at Boeing (CLUB), and engineering unions around the world.
Lake WA Technical College seeks labor rep
Over the years, SPEEA has been asked by local community colleges to appoint a "Labor Representative" to serve on their various Advisory Boards.
The Labor Representative serves along with college administrators, instructors and industry representatives. They discuss the curriculum, and the needs of the hiring/labor community to ensure compatibility. Having SPEEA-represented labor reps on these committees gives these schools the added expertise of your technical background. These boards generally meet once a quarter, in the evening at their campus.
We have been asked by the Lake Washington Technical College in Kirkland to select a labor rep to serve on their Engineering Graphics & Design Program Advisory Committee. They are seeking an experienced drafter/designer who preferably lives on the eastside. They meet quarterly on a Tuesday night beginning at 6:00 p.m. (next meeting is in January).
If you are interested in applying to fill this spot, please contact Robbi Alberts at (206) 433-0995, x126 or email email@example.com. SPEEA's Executive Board will make the final appointment.
The Negotiation Team has been compiling results from the kick-off negotiation survey which was mailed to all members in the September SPOTLITE. Here are some of the comments members sent back with the surveys.
"It's shameful that a
good employee doesn't have a decent future at the biggest aerospace
company in the world."
"I believe pay levels are market driven. We should negotiate distribution issues, but go limp on pay levels - or even trade lower pay for better benefits. Then let market pressures increase pay outside of negotiations." - Prof member
"Need to get info in the contract that SPEEA and Council Reps/Area Reps can use Company email to pass along union-issued information." - Tech member
"Eliminate process whereby past salary history dictates future results." - Prof member
"As soon as you get past
the first level (supervisor), I don't think management gives a crap
about any of the 'problems'."
"Realize that the ShareValue program is a failure and move on with a program that rewards us for cutting waste and allowing more profit per airplane sale." - Prof member
"I hear lots of talk about world-class companies, yet the USA has the least amount of vacation per annum of all major industrial nations. If the Company continues to talk world-class, then they should give us similar vacation packages as Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, etc." - Tech member
"RESPECT!! I found the comments made in the media and letters sent to our homes from senior management during the strike to be insulting and condescending." - Prof member
"Performance Management has no benefits for those that work." - Tech member
"Establish a Design Center South for engineers living in the South end, rather than transferring us to Everett. If Twin-Aisle design work can be done in Japan, it can also be done in Renton (besides Everett)." - Prof member
"I'll do anything it takes,
but we learned the last time, they only listened to us when we hurt
them financially by striking."
"The attempts by the Company to go back on its commitment to retiree medical concerns me and will affect me. Medical insurance will be the ONE ISSUE that determines when I will be able to retire." - Prof member
"Alternate skills/capabilities seem to work against a person during retention exercises. It appears the person who 'stretches' is also more subject to layoff." - Prof member
"We should have salary adjustment objectively tied to meeting your performance goals." - Tech member
"Virtual Office Place
(working at home) is a fantastic perq and needs more promotion and publicity.
This is a foundation for a collaborative workplace (not offshore, I
"Ask all members to email Boeing leadership in a certain timeframe (well before contract ends) - documenting the effect the last strike had, and confirming their commitment, resolve & desire to help this Company IF the Company does the right thing." - Tech member
SPEEA reps meet with President of Eximbank
John E. Robson was recently appointed Chair and President of the Export-Import Bank. The Eximbank helps U.S. businesses throughout the country sell their products worldwide by providing loan guarantees.
On Tuesday, November 13th, SPEEA delegates joined representatives from CESO and other labor unions in a meeting with Eximbank President Robson. At the meeting, Mr. Robson thanked these labor representatives for their support for reauthorization and continued funding of Eximbank.
The unions represented included: Association of Scientists & Professional Engineering Personnel (ASPEP) representing Lockheed-Martin & L3 Communications in New Jersey ... Int'l Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1805 representing Northrop Grumman employees in Maryland ... International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) ... Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES) ... Michigan Public Employees, SEIU Local 517M (MPES) ... National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) ... Salaried Employees Association (SEA) representing Northrup Grumman radar workers in Maryland ... Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), representing Boeing employees across the nation ... and United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1190, representing Wheeling Pit Steel Company employees in Ohio.
by Mark Moshay, Staff Workforce Focal
Several members have asked what their union is doing to ensure that the layoff process is conducted in accordance with our contracts. That's a fair question. SPEEA routinely monitors the Recall list and Contractor rosters year round. We do this to ensure that when open positions are filled, that those with Priority Consideration are offered the job before any other external hire (contractors, new hires, etc.).
When the Company made its layoff announcement in October, SPEEA immediately put together a plan to monitor the overall process. Actually, there had been discussions prior to the formal announcement. Our first efforts were directed at presenting various proposals to mitigate the need to lay off represented employees. By the time the employer sent out the layoff notices, SPEEA stepped up the effort to monitor the process.
Here is an overview of what SPEEA is doing to monitor the layoff process:
Positive Results of Monitoring Activities
* RECALL - During the past year,our efforts to monitor hiring actions resulted in the identification of more than 50 actions that appeared to be inconsistent with our contracts. These were cases in which it appeared that employees with "Priority Consideration" were not being offered positions being filled by the Company.
The majority of those actions were ultimately found to be proper (subsequent job offer, rejection of offer, administrative error, etc). Those that were found to be in violation of the contract were processed as grievances.
* CURRENT LAYOFF - SPEEA identified 12 layoff actions that appeared to be contractual violations. In most of these instances there was an acceptable explanation for what appeared to be a deviation (for example, in one case the person laid off was in a different geographic unit and therefore not included in the group of employees in another location). However, in at least three of these situations, the layoff notice was withdrawn.
* One other activity that SPEEA has pursued, from the first hint of impending layoffs, is that of mitigation. SPEEA has continued to engage the employer in the discussion of a wide range of proposals to avoid further layoff activity or at least to "soften the blow" to those being laid off.
Though we are very disappointed that the Company has resisted many of our attempts to find other means of reducing expenses without layoffs, they have been willing to continue the discussion.
There are two instances in which the Company has offered flexibility that goes beyond their contractual obligations:
1) The stated intention that they will not hire contractors into job classifications/skill codes that are not currently being surplussed. (Our contracts only prevent that from occurring where surplusses exist).
2) The placement of laid off employees into a job classification or skill code, held by a contractor, for which they are qualified. Placement would be accomplished by releasing contractors on a one-for-one basis. Unfortunately, the likelihood is that future layoffs would result in most of the contractors being released before placements could be made.
In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the activities by the Company to ensure that layoff actions are in accordance with the contract.
Openings for SPEEA delegates on local Labor Councils
We currently have the following openings for SPEEA delegates on local labor councils:
King County - 13 vacancies
Snohomish - 6 vacancies
Spokane - 1 vacancy
NW Oregon - 3 vacancies
SPEEA's delegates represent SPEEA's interests on these councils, and bring back valuable information to share with our members. Most labor councils meet once a month, in the evening, but this may vary. Delegates may also be invited to support rallies or functions sponsored by various labor unions within the council.
How to Apply
Candidates should have been a member of SPEEA for at least one year, and have a good working knowledge of the SPEEA organization. You should run for the labor council where you either work or reside. To apply, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. List the county you wish to apply for, your name, clock number, work & home phones, work & home emails, home address, and a brief statement why you feel you are qualified. Candidates will be interviewed and final appointment will be made by SPEEA's Executive Board.
Managers instructed to conduct year-end Performance Management review
Since pay and performance are linked, Managers are being asked to make sure to complete the Final Review portion of Performance Management for their SPEEA-represented employees. These should be completed before they begin their 2002 salary review. Performance, as documented in the annual performance evaluation, is a primary factor in the salary planning process.