February 8, 2002 Newsletter #1867
I didn't write an article last week. I thought it best to calm down before putting my thoughts in writing. This week's article may seem a bit aggressive to some, but please understand it is much calmer than it would have been last week.
As reported in last week's newsletter Irving employees, for the first time in SPEEA history, rejected Boeing's contract offer unanimously. There were reasons for that. While the contract had some good points it was worthy of rejection for at least two good reasons:
* The process was unfaithful to our best principles
Similar to the process used in the last Puget Sound negotiations, we started off with workforce issues. Members of both teams rolled up their sleeves and worked hard as a team to address and solve real problems. In fact, Boeing's Labor Relations Rep commented that,"This is the way negotiations should work, we should have taken a video." Members of both teams said, "Wow, you couldn't tell who was union and who was company- everyone just wanted to figure out what was right and help make it happen."
Just as in Seattle in '99, the negotiations took a dramatic turn when it came time to address wages and benefits. The "out of town" comp and benefits people would not consider working with SPEEA representatives. Instead they threw down their offer. Making only minimal preplanned changes to try to cover themselves legally from a bad-faith bargaining charge. The atmosphere was dictatorial. Joint problem-solving was nowhere to be found. This brings us to the second reason for rejecting the offer:
* The wages and benefits offer was both inferior and mean-spirited
Below is a Spreadsheet showing the wages and benefit offer the "out-of-towners" forced Irving management to throw down (click on image for a larger view). The first three columns show the current wages and benefits for both non-union and union-represented employees. It should be noted that the IAM contract was negotiated after September 11th. The company's final offer to the IAM was put down AFTER the 30% workforce reduction was announced. Our wage pools and vacations are certainly inferior. The refusals to increase weekly disability insurance from $275 to $300 per week, increase the maximum age for dependent children from 19 to 21 and to cover pregnant dependents are mean-spirited. I say this because these changes have been made for every other Irving employee and the total cost to provide them would be about $20 per person PER YEAR. The refusal to increase the pension benefit for our people to that just given to everyone at the plant is both inferior and mean-spirited.
Some people point out that the non-union group is getting the best deal. They ask, "What is the value of a union?" A question easily answered with another question. Do you think that Boeing's top decision-makers today willingly give money to anyone other than themselves or shareholders? Question: Why would they give a better deal to non-union employees? Answer: They think they are investing now in their ability to do whatever they want to employees in the future. The problem is that their scheme is awfully transparent and counter productive. We all remember that, before the unions turned back medical premium co-pays, all non-union employees were forced to pay medical premiums. Once the unions won that fight, medical premiums were removed for the non-union - the comparison was too stark.
There is a better way
The real problem is that someone is playing a counter productive outdated game. It is one in which unions and companies must fight each other for limited resources. It is time for Boeing's Labor Relations Policy to be updated to the current century. It doesn't have to be a fight. We could have worked with the Irving management team to hammer out a contract that would have been acceptable. This is what a union is all about - giving voice to and representing employee's justifiable interests. My concern is that, in Irving, we are seeing a preview of Boeing's strategy for negotiations in the Puget Sound and Wichita later this year.
Right now is a pivotal time
In writing my article I took a pause, counted to 10 and tried to do something that would be a bit more productive than what I was going to do.
My advice to Boeing's Labor Relations group is the same. Take a pause, count to 10 and try to do something that will be a bit more productive. Let the Irving group be a real team - send a positive message that positions us well for the upcoming negotiations.
the Recall Procedure
by Mark Moshay, Staff Workforce Focal
The priority consideration (also referred to as "first consideration" or "recall rights") for the recall feature of our contracts is one of our most important safeguards in providing laid-off employees with the assurance of being given the first opportunity when jobs become available.
In the past, we've experienced problems when employees have unknowingly lost their priority status. The problems associated with priority recall stem from two primary causes:
1) Employee unfamiliarity / misconceptions about how the procedure works.
2) Problems associated in the processing of the requests by the Company.
The following information is provided to help SPEEA-represented employees avoid problems in maintaining their priority recall status.
Employees should be aware of these important facts:
A. Definition of various terms.
There is often confusion over the meaning of terms and phrases used in the contract. In addition, there are some commonly-used terms in the workplace that may have added to the confusion.
First Consideration - This is the contractual term for what most people refer to as their Recall Right (or Priority Consideration).
Active Layoff List - This is a list of all employees who have been laid off within the past 6 years and have not turned down an equivalent job offer. The list includes those with First Consideration and all others (referred to as Second Consideration in the contract). Priority consideration lasts for 3 years maximum. After that, they will be placed on the active layoff list for up to 3 more years (balance of 6 years) for purposes of retiring as an "active" employee, etc.
Recall Right - This is another way of saying First Consideration. Our contracts provide that those individuals who are laid off AND who properly notify the Company each 6 month window after their layoff, shall be afforded the first consideration for job openings in the job classification or skill code from which they were laid off. However, the Company may transfer or reassign employees on the payroll into those positions prior to offering recall to those with Priority Consideration.
B. It is the employee's responsibility to apply for priority consideration.
When employees are laid off, they receive priority consideration automatically for the balance of the current six-month window. For example, an employee laid off in January will automatically have priority consideration until June 30th. At the beginning of each successive 6-month period (January 1st and July 1st) the employee is responsible to send in their request to the Company for priority consideration.
As a service to its membership, SPEEA routinely sends out reminders to laid-off members telling them of an upcoming "window" for priority consideration. Sometimes employees assume that their status remains intact once they get priority consideration. This, of course, is incorrect. It's always advisable to send your consideration for recall via registered mail to document that the Company received the form.
C. If you choose to receive your severance pay in a lump sum, you permanently forfeit the priority consideration option.
There has been a false rumor circulating that after one year an employee who receives a lump sum can apply for priority consideration - this is not true. Acceptance of severance pay in a lump sum cancels priority consideration recall rights permanently. Remember, this does not preclude the Company from recalling an employee; however, the Company is not obligated to do so.
D. The Company is not required to hire those with "second consideration."
The "active layoff list" is comprised of two groups - First Consideration (or Priority) and those with Second Consideration. Second Consideration is somewhat of a misnomer. After all of those with active First Consideration have been rehired or have dropped from the list, the Company MAY hire employees with Second Consideration. However, it is not an obligation. In fact, there are some employees who wish to be retained on the active lay off list, but are not interested in returning to work for a certain period of time (going to school, taking care of personal matters, etc.). But refusing a job offer can result in being dropped from the priority recall list. There are advantages to remaining on the priority layoff list. For example, you may qualify for various types of assistance (you'll receive our semi-annual reminder letter).
E. You can't lose your right to recall.
Another misconception is the belief that once you allow your first consideration to expire, or lapse, you are unable to reactivate it. That is NOT correct.
Employees may request reinstatement of priority consideration for recall at any time within 3 years of being laid off. Bear in mind however that until your status is activated, the Company can make offers to other individuals. For that reason, SPEEA encourages employees to send their requests in at the beginning of each new period.
F. Employees close to retirement
It's important to note that employees who are within six years of retirement age (age 49 or older) automatically remain on the active layoff list and are able to retire under the same conditions as active employees.
Request for the Company to revise the processing of First Consideration requests.
Earlier this year, SPEEA identified a problem in the way First Consideration requests were processed. At the beginning of each successive 6-month window, the Company would automatically remove the First Consideration status of everyone on the list. Then, as the requests were received, the Company would restore the status. This resulted in a lag time in which job offers could be made to others before those with First Consideration had their status restored.
The Union has requested
the Company to modify the process and allow a two-week "grace period"
at the start of each 6-month window. Thus, if employees make timely application
for First Consideration at the beginning of each successive window, their
status would run continuously throughout the year.
New Discounter approved for Wichita
The Executive Board has approved adding the following Wichita firm to the SPEEA Discount List:
Fitness 2000 24HR Health Club (Wichita: Lincoln & Oliver, Pawnee & Oliver): (316) 683-1916. Discount for SPEEA member & immediate family: Initiation fee waived (reg. $100); monthly fee $20 (reg. $36.95). 24 hr access to health club (equipment, aerobic classes, yoga, stress management, indoor track, heated pool, steam room, personal trainers, nursery, etc.) Pawnee location also offers "women only" hours.
The Board also authorized mailings requested by Long-Term Care & Retirement Planning (to members age 50 & over & retirees); and by Henry Cogswell College (to Tech Unit employees). These mailings are conducted at no cost to SPEEA.
In Memoriam - Richard Himka
SPEEA member Richard Thomas Shea Himka, 48, passed away January 22nd of a sudden heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Holly Himka; two daughters, Cristina and Rachel all of Arlington, WA.; his parents, Joyce and Ted Himka of Renton, WA.; and two brothers, Kevin Himka of North Bend, WA. and Theodore Himka of Issaquah, WA. His natural father, Lt. Richard Thomas Shea II was killed in action during the Korean War.
Richard served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was hired by Boeing in 1988. He lived in Arlington and worked at the Everett plant. He served as president of the Boeing Astronomy Club and was an active SPEEA member, joining as soon as he hired on. He was a great family man who loved his family, his astronomy hobby, fishing, and was an exceptional artist.
At his funeral on January 26th was a table with some photos and artwork he had done, along with his Boeing badge pinned to his SPEEA neckholder with four SPEEA strike-support pins which he proudly wore daily. It was his "badge of honor". Co-workers remember him standing up in support of SPEEA; he was a hero in our Union's battle.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the BankofAmerica in the name of his children, Cristina and Rachel.
CPI - December 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 December 2001 is 172.9. (On a 1967=100 base, the December index is 515.0.) This is a 0.5% decrease from November 2001, and an increase of 1.3% from one year ago.
Chance to see Robin Ryan, Career Counselor
According to Robin Ryan, here are some Pitfalls job-hunters should avoid: not preparing for the interview ... failing to conduct job market research ... and not even trying to negotiate the salary once you are offered the position. "Employers are negotiating salary & benefits with more latitude than ever before," says Ryan. "The key is to learn the formula and ask appropriately. By practicing and asking for more, most people can get a salary several thousand dollars higher in just a few minutes."
Robin Ryan is offering some
FREE public seminars, as follows:
NOTE: Robin Ryan will also
be in attendance at the Reaching Out JOB FAIR (which SPEEA is
For free career & job search articles written by Robin Ryan, visit her website at http://www.RobinRyan.com.
Everett Site Assembly report
By Mark Moshay, Everett Contract Administrator
It's not uncommon to experience a low turnout for meetings scheduled right after the holiday break. The attendees for the January 14th Everett Site Assembly (ESA) meeting were a pleasant surprise as more people turned out than usual.
Even more impressive was the energy and enthusiasm level to address various issues of concern at the Everett Site.
Acting Chair Alan Rice heard from members on issues ranging from community service projects to quality-of-life concerns in the workplace.
The ESA is proving to be an excellent conduit to provide input and action to support other SPEEA efforts like the Partnership meetings, the Everett Roundtable, Facilities, County Labor Councils, charities and community projects.
In December, Chairman Rice emailed a request for volunteers to serve on the Facilities Joint-Subcommittee to meet with the Company representatives for the purpose of addressing various site-specific issues. He was hoping for at least one or two volunteers. Instead, four people stepped forward (Aila Bergstrom, Steve Conrad, Warren Williamson and Kurt Schuetz). The ESA agreed to let the volunteers decide, amongst themselves, how many of them would be needed to attend various meetings.
There was discussion about the role of ESA vs. that of the monthly Everett Roundtable. The members agreed that both functions overlap, but in a positive way. The Roundtable is more focused on worksite-related issues, while the ESA has a broader scope of interests.
Brent McFarlane asked that the ESA come up to speed on the activities of various county labor councils. He believes the labor councils are a good vehicle for addressing Boeing issues as they relate to our labor organizations and the community at large.
Each month, I'm impressed at the way our members have developed as a team. With all the negative impacts of recent layoffs, outsourcing and rumors of continued downsizing, these folks continue to look for opportunities to help SPEEA members and the community at large.
Boeing and SPEEA meet for Annual Drug & Alcohol briefing
Representatives from the Company and SPEEA recently met for the Union's annual briefing of the Drug & Alcohol-Free Workplace program and to share data regarding the employer's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Similar to years past, the employer provided data for all Puget Sound employees first; and, secondarily, for all SPEEA-represented employees within that population.
The general feeling conveyed by Dennis O'Neill (Drug Free Workplace Manager) was that the Company's Drug & Alcohol-Free Workplace program was working successfully. During the year 2001, SPEEA-represented employees experienced only 7 positive drug/alcohol tests throughout the year (4 Tech, 3 Prof) with 6 of those being for alcohol while 1 was for marijuana. As expected, throughout all Puget Sound employees, the highest percentage of positive tests came as a result of "reasonable cause" testing (67.8%) while "random" testing of the required populations only generated a 1.6% positive. Since alcohol positives again ranked highest on the list, Dennis acknowledged that the program would continue to focus its educational efforts in that area. The parties also discussed some changes that occurred in August of 2001 as a result of procedural changes mandated by the Department of Transportation. The emphasis of those changes was to limit the potential for "tainted tests" as a result of the collection process.
With respect to the EAP program, Kevin King supplied data corresponding to all of the program's activity throughout Puget Sound. Throughout the calendar year 2001, EAP did 6,301 assessments with 53% of those for mental health type issues. Of the total assessments, 65% were self-referrals rather than by management, medical or peers. EAP also has the responsibility to maintain data on the employees who have had required drug and alcohol treatment and follow-up. The message that Kevin was emphatic about was that the EAP services are voluntary and confidential.
SPEEA is proud of our role over the last decade assisting the Company in the evolution of the Drug & Alcohol-Free Workplace program. This program has been used as a model for other employers and unions in trying to reach compliance with the various regulatory agencies. [BR]
Working Together, We Can Make A Difference!
Proposed Revisions to SPEEA By-Laws
At their January 17th meeting, the SPEEA Council agreed to put the following proposed revisions to the SPEEA By-Laws up for a vote at their March 14th meeting. In the meantime, we must publish these proposed revisions twice in our newsletter for SPEEA members to review and provide their input. Please review these proposed changes, and if you have any suggested amendments, please contact your Council Rep.
To summarize the reasons for the changes:
7.2.2 Clarify that the Treasurer's Report is provided at "regularly-scheduled" Council meetings (not necessary at "specially-convened" meetings)
126.96.36.199 Clarify the Council Convention is held in June.
7.3.2 Clarify allowance for "multiple location" meetings (i.e., in Seattle, in Wichita, etc.)
188.8.131.52 Define schedule and purpose of regularly-scheduled Council meetings, and process for calling "special" meetings.
184.108.40.206 Clarify minimum agenda of Council meetings.
220.127.116.11 Clarify individually cast Council delegate votes (e.g., at multiple locations).
7.4.1 Correct date of presentation of proposed budget (i.e., January, not February)
10.1.2 Define terms for JRC members (no more than two full consecutive terms); define process for election from the floor (must have concurrence of Executive Board, who nominates)
in bold underlined; deleted text
7. SPEEA COUNCIL
7.2. SPEEA Council Officers
7.2.2. SPEEA Council Treasurer
The SPEEA Council Treasurer shall be responsible for the Council funds and ensuring that the SPEEA Council is presented with the Council and SPEEA Treasurer's report at every regularly-scheduled meeting.
A convention of the SPEEA Council shall be convened at least once every year. The Convention should be held in June of each year.
7.3.2. SPEEA Council Meetings
The Council Officers may elect
to hold a single meeting with
January - Approval of the SPEEA Council budget.
March - Approval of the SPEEA budget.
October - Election of a member to the Judicial Review committee. Approval of Executive Board candidate questions on odd years.
Special meetings are called by the SPEEA Council Chairman, SPEEA President or written demand of any 20% of Council Delegates.
Such written demand of any twenty-percent of the SPEEA Council shall include the name of the Council Member, district or position in SPEEA and provide or refer to the special business to be addressed. Written demand may be e-mailed, faxed or hand delivered.
E-mail procedures are defined in SPEEA Policy and addresses can be verified to the address of record at the SPEEA Office.
A quorum for the meeting of
the SPEEA Council shall consist of sixty (60) percent of
the delegates; and of
18.104.22.168. Notice and Agenda
The notice and agenda for
The agenda shall be set to
inform Council Representatives of issues affecting SPEEA
When voting is not conducted
formally at a single or simultaneous meeting of the SPEEA Council,
individually-cast delegate votes may be distributed and collected at Regional
Council meetings. The Regional Council Secretary shall ensure that the
delegate votes are returned to the SPEEA Council Secretary. If an emergent
nature as determined by the SPEEA Council Officers arises, the
SPEEA Council Secretary shall send
7.4 Rights and Duties
SPEEA Council Committee budgets
shall be provided to the Council Officers. The Council Officers shall
be responsible for providing budget input for any special committee, which
will be activated during that budget year and shall include appropriate
expenses for Council Representatives to attend the applicable training
course. The Council Officers shall review all input and
10. JUDICIAL REVIEW
If Concurrence by the Executive Board of a member nominated and elected from the floor is not obtained, the Executive Board shall submit at least three names of qualified members for that position.