February 22, 2002 Newsletter #1869
TO: GRP Anaheim and Allen Ashby
I agree with you totally that this award is a result of the contribution of a lot of hard work by myself and all of my co-workers. We have all contributed many hours of hard work to develop new and innovative products and methods to manufacture those products in more economical ways. The end results of these efforts are more profits for the Company, which in turn generates higher share value for our stakeholders.
However, many of us are not allowed to participate in this plan. Maybe it should be renamed as the "Favored Employee Incentive Plan (FEIP) or the "Screw the Union Employees Incentive Plan" (SUEIP). I find it an insult that you even sent me this E-mail in the first place. Fortunately for me, I am already at retirement age and I am in the process of looking for employment elsewhere. As an individual, I will be missed by my current group when I leave but in the overall big picture, both my contributions as well as the loss of my services when I depart, will be negligible when compared to the detrimental effects of these management actions on the morale of all union-represented employees. Boeing is sacrificing the greater gain possible for a short-term Public Relations effort which only points out their animosity towards the many loyal union employees which got them where they are today.
I will be watching with interest to see how Boeing negotiates with their Unions this Fall. Are they going to "do the right thing" or more of what we have seen up to now?
/s/ Bob Schellhase (Kent)
Dear Mr. Ashby,
In sending this "Thank you" to unionized employees as well as non-unionized ones, you are rubbing our noses in the fact that the company has created an anti-union plan and is using it as a way to punish the unionized employees by denying them their share of the award which you say we have all worked to achieve. Please be honest about the purpose of this award. It is not intended just to provide an incentive for people to work hard for the company's programs. It is intended to be a slap in the face of unionized employees and a bribe to keep non-unionized employees from exercising their right to organize and engage in the collective bargaining process. Please do not send any more such hypocritical "Thank you" messages to me in the future.
/s/ David B. Westman (Kent)
(An Area Rep from Everett writes) "It really burns me to hear everyone including Management bragging about receiving their bonuses. We work just as hard and have been just as helpful in keeping this company afloat. These people received bonuses at the expense of 30,000 laid off workers, just so the execs can show a profit. Show me in our contract where we are prohibited from receiving recogniition awards? These bonuses are in recognition of a job well done. I think we have a legal ground to stand on here. What's the official union position and what steps are being taken? I believe it can be proven that it was intentional to not pay union members simply because they are in a union and use bargaining as their excuse. I don't remember my contract not allowing me to receive recognition...."
(And member from Wichita) "The letter from Jeff Turner is truly a morale killer for a lot of people. What timing. Seems like every time I turn-around Boeing management either lies to me or insults me. It's difficult to believe the high level of arrogance of Boeing management. Mean spirited is a good description of the very people who say we are sooooo important. We are truly in an adversarial position with Boeing management. I don't think it's too early to begin advertising for new members so that we will have a strong, united bargaining unit that will demand respect from the Company negotiators."
To Jerry Daniels,
Thank you for the message of appreciation (Honors to our Engineers). As engineers we feel we make a positive contribution to our work organizations and communities. However, part of your "team" isn't being treated as true team members. I refer to the recent EIP award of 9 days pay to "our outstanding team". Employees covered by union-negotiated contracts do not participate in the EIP. While there is nothing in our contract that prevents the company from including us, it has decided not to, for reasons that cannot be explained.
It is because we are not currently being treated as "team members" that I must respectfully request you refrain from using the term "teammates" when addressing us. It isn't that we are not proud of our work and the Boeing Company; it's just that the company's actions don't support your terminology.
/s/ Richard J. Taylor (Dev. Center)
Notes from the Executive
In a town meeting, Phil Condit said, "People listen to what I say, but what is most important to them is what I do. They hear my words, but watch my feet."
Boeing's vision is for a unified team moving forward; yet, today Boeing's words and actions are counter to this vision. Boeing's actions have been to divide employees and attack the unions that Boeing employees have formed.
Two examples are the GE model for employee utilization and the EIP. Messages about the "GE" model for employees that would eventually off load ALL of our jobs for low wage employees around the globe are being distributed and supported (ref. SPEEA's web page). The EIP is a plan that is clearly intended to divide employees. Members have covered this topic very well in another article.
Our desire is to help bend Boeing's words and actions to align with a vision we can support. Our goal is to stand as an equal partner within Boeing to help move Boeing forward in ways that make as much sense to employees as to shareholders.
When surveyed before our last negotiations in the Puget Sound, over 95% of SPEEA members said YES to "Should SPEEA employ working together tactics and principles in our negotiations even if we have to do it alone?" Sadly we learned that we couldn't do working together alone.
A sign will be sent
As we approach our next negotiations, the threshold question is "Is a workable partnership possible, or will SPEEA be attacked once again?" I don't know the answer to this question, but I know where to look for the answer. Today Irving negotiations are underway. The story is a familiar one. The situation is that negotiations went very well on non-economic issues, but then at the last, some out-of-town people came in to throw down an economic and benefits package that is inferior to that of every other group in Irving (see Feb. 8th SPEEA newsletter).
All eyes on Irving
We have only to watch and see how Boeing responds to the 100% rejection of the Irving employees to know what is in store for us in the Puget Sound and Wichita.
Boeing's head may be in Chicago,
but today, their feet are in Irving. Let's pay very close attention to
their feet. All eyes should be on Irving.
SPEEA supports rally in Olympia
On January 18th, representatives from SPEEA attended the "Save Our State" President's Day rally on the Capitol steps of Olympia, WA. This day of action was co-sponsored by labor, churches, social service advocates and others concerned about poor and working families. The message was "don't balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable, the poor and public employees".
In addition, the coalition called for lawmakers to close tax loopholes and utilize other means that may be available to: preserve State services to meet the needs of those that rely on health and human services and public safety programs ... protect public and private sector workers who provide those services and ensure that they are paid livable wages with benefits ... pass a State economic stimulus package that includes a transportation budget that funds all modes of transportation, an enhanced capital budget to meet infrastructure and housing needs, and enhanced unemployment and retraining benefits ... and protect workplace standards, such as the minimum wage, the prevailing wage and others essential to working families and the working poor.
If you are interested in registering for weekly updates from the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) on actions at the Washington State Legislature, go to: http://www.wslc.org/legis/lulatest.htm
"Standard Start Times" in the Everett IRC
An announcement was made during the afternoon on Friday, December 21, 2001, within the Interiors Responsibility Center in Everett that all employees in Produce, Production Support, and Define Direct Support would be moving to standard start times. The effective date of this change was identified as February 4, 2002 (now February 8, 2002). During the first week of January 2002, SPEEA Council Representatives (CR) started to elicit information from our members to ascertain the potential effects on our membership once implemented. (Over 100 responses were received!) Simultaneous to that, SPEEA Contract Administrators forwarded a formal request to the Puget Sound Director of Union Relations to conduct an Article 10 meeting regarding the December 21st announcement.
Much to the credit of both the union relations focals and the IRC leadership in Everett, the Article 10 meeting was scheduled and heard on January 18th, just 9 days after the initial request! The first phase of the meeting was the Company's explanation of the present and the intended operation, and then a review of the expectations and instructions being given to those employees we represent. The rationale for the evolution of the operation, as explained by the IRC leadership, was based on two elements. The first criterion was a need to provide direct support to a continuously-moving production process. To ensure that adequate immediate support was on hand, the leadership team felt that those who provide direct support to production needed to be similarly standardized. The second element was to provide some internal order within the organization. One of the problems that was portrayed, there were the growing inconsistencies in starting times, day-off schedules and who had visibility or knowledge of the various daily responsibilities on the IRC team. The leadership felt that some refining of shift schedules, work weeks and start times would help provide some internal order or consistency.
During the course of the last several weeks, we are aware of continuing process improvements to the original announcement. First, with respect to standard start times, the initial design was for possibly one standard time for all employees but was presented as two (6 am and 7:30 am) on December 21st. On January 18th, we were apprised of four start times (starting at 6 am and continuing in 30-minute intervals). The employer acknowledged the need to review variances to these start times on a case-by-case basis and has continued to do so. The initial inclination on shift schedules was to strictly have 5X8 work schedules, which would help ensure support to the production process. This issue has gone through several evolutionary stages, which now has allowances for the 9X80 schedule. As with start times, a Shift Exception Committee was established to help facilitate review of unique shift schedules not contained within their guidelines.
SPEEA representatives continually receive inquiries regarding problems associated with the impending changes. At the Article 10 meeting, SPEEA sought clarifications on the effects on vanpools, bus and ferry schedules, parking, cafeteria service, daycare and eldercare arrangements. The Company supplied several links to assist employees working through their individual situations. If the employee continues to have difficulty after working the various options, discuss with your supervisor issues that still need to be worked.
Puget Sound Commuter Home Page - http://peopleorg.web.boeing.com/commute/
Puget Sound Rideshare web site (to match and find similar commuters) - http://www.rideshareonline.com/
Family Care Resource Home Page - http://peopleorg.web.boeing.com/FamilyCare/
Everett Family Center (daycare center) - http://familycenters.web.boeing.com/everett/Everett%20Center.htm
One of the threshold questions asked of the Union was whether the Company could change to the standard start times without "negotiating" with the Union. One of the schools of thought was that the language concerning shift schedules, start times and work weeks were contained within the contract and company procedures, and that management had the right to manage their workforce pursuant to Article 2 of the contracts. The other end of the spectrum was that any change that affects the wages, hours or working conditions of the employee was subject to collective bargaining.
Somewhere in the middle of these extremes, the Company expressed a need to modify their operations for efficiency sake. The Union requested clarifications of the actual modifications and how they would impact the people. Employees are being required to have designated start times and workweeks and there is a process in place to handle potential anomalies that occur. Problem solving does work! [BR]
SPEEA Works For You!
King County Labor Film Series
The Seattle Independent Media Center (IMC) is hosting a film series. All screenings take place on the last Wednesday of the month, at 7:30 p.m. at the Seattle IMC at 1415 Third Ave. Sponsoring King County Labor Council affiliates choose a film and lead a discussion following each screening. These films have been scheduled:
For more information, contact Brian Allen at (206) 605-3008, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A member recently sought the assistance of his Contract Administrator for help with his medical insurance claims. The employee had remarried and moved out of the direct service area of the provider. With the change of address, the insurance defaulted to the standard medical plan. Coinciding with that was the open enrollment period for the HMO that services the area he was moving to. The problem that surfaced was for the dependents that resided with his ex-wife.
Shortly after the insurance defaulted to the standard plan, his children had already had service provided under the previous plan without his knowledge. He became aware of it when approached by his ex-wife for reimbursement.
After two months of trying to get the situation straightened out, the specialist at Boeing who works on eligibility issues was happy to report that the situation appeared to be rectified. This was one of those situations where computer programs control the actions taken. If the employee would have had knowledge of the automatic default prior to its occurrence, he could have made the necessary communication to his dependents.
SPEEA's role in this case was merely to get the information flowing to the right parties to effect the correction. Once done, the resolution became easy! [BR]
Working Together, We Can Make A Difference!
Recently, a member called the Everett SPEEA Office to discuss his concerns about his FSP account balance. The member accurately noted that each year, up to 40 hours of sick leave is converted into cash and deposited into his FSP account.
The Contract Administrator (CA) noted that the balance being given to the employee seemed significantly lower than what it should have been. The employee and the CA both agreed that the error may have occurred at the time of his transfer to the SPEEA unit.
The CA advised the member to present the facts to the appropriate Company representatives. The employee emailed his CA with good news a short time later:
"Thank you for helping me with my issue on the missing Company contribution to my FSP account. Per your advice I contacted my personnel rep to request an audit. She put me in contact with the proper people in Payroll and more than $1,300 was not properly contributed to my account. The contribution will be made shortly. I appreciate very much your assistance / advice."
SPEEA reps are always glad to provide guidance and information to members. However, it makes the task much easier when employees monitor their benefits as this member did. [MM]
Do you have Constitutional Rights in the workplace?
By Mark Moshay, SPEEA Contract Administrator
If the title of this article seems like a silly question, you may be in for a surprise. The answer to the question is both "yes" and "no." Most people assume that their rights under the Constitution are guaranteed to them whether at home, in public, or at work. That is true.
However those rights can be voluntarily compromised. Employers can invoke rules and policies that may appear to be a violation of your rights. When you are on the job, every task you perform is "on-the-clock" and subject to management's right to assign and manage work. For example, the restrictions concerning the use of email may seem like a denial of employees' right to free speech. In reality, the employer is exercising managerial authority, "on-the-clock."
In some situations an employer can limit your rights off the job. For example, airline pilots are not allowed to consume alcohol on their own time before flying. Few would argue that this limits their civil liberties because it seems a reasonable requirement to protect the public. Federal employees (military and civilian) cannot hold partisan public office at any level because of regulations enacted to avoid conflict of interest.
There is a fine line between "voluntary compromise" vs. a violation of individual rights. Each year there are numerous challenges in our court system. Challenges concerning search and seizure, drug testing, work schedules, oaths, etc. demonstrate the complex nature of this legal debate. However, for every worker who actually takes their case to court, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, accept whatever their employer dictates in order to keep working.
Unions Provide an added 'Check and Balance'
Employees represented by labor unions have a significant advantage over non-union employees. In addition to the collective bargaining agreement (contract), labor unions have the right to negotiate any new rule or policy if it has an impact on wages or working conditions. Under federal law, employers are required to negotiate changes to wages and working conditions with labor unions. The requirement provides unions an opportunity to question polices which could have adverse effects on employees.
Employees often complain that management has an unfair advantage in the workplace. In many ways employers do have the upper hand. The only viable way to level the playing field is through representation. Labor unions can't prevent employers from implementing rules, and policies limit personal freedoms on the job. However, unions provide a check and balance. Quite often the mere presence of the union makes management more reluctant to issue edicts that are perceived as impacting individual rights.
Discount on Sonics Tickets
Tickets for eight more home games for the Seattle Sonics are available to SPEEA members at a discount. $5 discount on games March 5th, March 9th, March 22nd and March 25th. 50% discount on games March 19th, March 27th, April 8th and April 17th. You can find the order form on SPEEA's website at: