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March 15, 2002 Newsletter #1872


"Striker Relief" fund still accepting donations

Second WTPU raise distributed

Boeing payroll changes

Notes from Exec. Director: "Only good things happen"

New Employee grateful for help

WAC sponsors special presentation

Transportation Committee kickoff

Upcoming SPEEA Events

2002 Women on the Move Forum

Member feedback: EIP

Career Fairs

Threat Management - what can happen

Negotiation Survey #2 on-line

Discounts: Intiman theater & opera

Upcoming Meetings

SPEEA "Striker Relief" fund still accepting donations

During the Strike of 2000, SPEEA established a fund to be used for SPEEA members in need of emergency assistance. Contributions of over $500,000 were made by members in Wichita, non-union Boeing employees, other labor unions, and the community. Funds were disbursed to hundreds of SPEEA members through an application process, following certain criteria.

In the Fall of 2001, The Boeing Company announced plans for huge downsizing, with layoffs to begin before the year-end holidays. In order to help laid-off employees get paid through those holidays, SPEEA encouraged people to contribute to the "SPEEA Cares Fund". Sufficient monies were collected to provide checks of $281 each to over 300 laid-off employees who applied for funds.

In anticipation of upcoming contract negotiations with Boeing, this SPEEA fund is still in place, and we continue collecting donations in preparation for future SPEEA member needs. The fund was established as a 501(c)(3) organization, which means it is tax-deductible.

You can send donations directly to the fund at:

King County Labor Agency
2800 First Ave, Room 126
Seattle, WA 98121

Or you can make your contribution through the Employees Community Fund (ECF) [Reference King County Labor Agency, AFL-CIO - SPEEA Fund ECF # 50461]. If you'd like a Personalized Giving form, you can download a copy at

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Midwest Region News

Second contractual WTPU raise distributed

The second of three contractual raises in the current Wichita-based Professional & Technical Unit contract was distributed on time.

The contract calls for a 4.5% salary pool. From that pool, every eligible employee is guaranteed a minimum of $750. The remaining dollars of each pool will be distributed selectively.

The raises began showing up on March 14th paychecks (note one week of that paycheck will be under your current rate, and one week will be calculated on your new wage rate).

Salary notices will be generated starting March 5th, and made available to supervisors for distribution.

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Boeing payroll changes

The first of the year, Boeing began implementing a Common Payroll System. The first phase included Portland, Spokane, Connexion and A&M Training.

The second phase will be implemented by April 1, 2002 and will include all remaining SPEEA-represented employees.

The March 28th paycheck will be the last check under the old payroll system.

Under the new system, changes affect VIP savings, VIP loans, Union dues deductions, holiday & vacation advances, and overtime calculations. Paychecks will also have a new look.

For more information on these changes, you can check out the Boeing web site at

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Notes from the Executive Director
Only good things happen

This is another "Written before the event happens" article.

However, the good news this time is that, since SPEEA members will decide what happens, there are no bad outcomes.

The topic is the election of SPEEA Executive Board officers. We have a seven-person Executive Board. All Executive Board members are elected to staggered two-year terms. This year, members will elect a SPEEA President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Next year, the other four spots will be up for election.

One sign of a vital union is member involvement. We have five candidates for President, five for Secretary and two for Treasurer. As of this writing we have 4,761 ballots returned to our post office box, representing 24.8% of our members. Both of these are very good signs. Historically we have about 15% turnout for Executive Board elections. Nearly 25% is about the same percentage that elects the President of the United States. SPEEA has more members today than in years past, so this year's numbers represent an increase in both percentage and a large increase in total number of voters. These are good signs for member involvement in a negotiation year.

As they have so many times in the past, our members will vote to select from the candidates the best people to represent SPEEA as Executive Board officers. I am confident that once again SPEEA members will make good choices.

You can rest assured that SPEEA has already put out a press release on our elections (by the time you read this article). I'm not sure it will have received the same coverage as Boeing's announcements on the Office of the Chair earlier this week. That is too bad. SPEEA officials have tremendous impact on the future of both SPEEA and Boeing. To "Boeing watchers", this election is just as important as Boeing's announcements on the Office of the Chair.

Once again, by the time you read this, the elections will have been recorded and announced. I don't know what the outcomes were, but I am sure they were the best decisions possible. SPEEA has democratically selected some of our best to move us forward. When members vote only good things happen.

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Case History
New employee grateful for help to resolve insurance mix-up

In early January, the Everett SPEEA Office received a call from a member who was having problems with his enrollment in his medical insurance of choice. The Contract Administrator (CA) learned that the member was a newly-hired employee and through a series of miscues had been automatically enrolled in the Traditional Medical Plan.

Part of the problem had to do with the timing and routing of the letters offering him choices for the plan he desired. When he located the paperwork, the deadline had passed.

The member was distraught because he had specific reasons for choosing a plan other than Traditional.

The CA contacted representatives at the Company on his behalf. Within a couple of weeks the matter was resolved and the member was able to select his plan of choice.

The member was very pleased with the result and sent this message to the Everett Office:

"They approved my appeal and so I was able to get the Health Coverage that best fits our needs. I appreciate all that you did to make this happen."

SPEEA is also appreciative of the responsiveness by Company Benefits representatives in cases like this. They frequently help us get "the right thing" done for those we represent. [MM]

SPEEA Makes a Difference!

SPEEA Transportation Committee gets rolling

Tasked with helping Washington State develop a solution to transportation problems, the SPEEA Transportation Committee recently held its first meeting.

The issue is an important one for SPEEA members who live and work in the Puget Sound region. Boeing leaders are insistent that the future of the Company in the region is partially dependent on finding a solution to the traffic bottlenecks and funding problems that grip the region's roadways.

"The magnitude of this problem will keep a lot of people busy for a long, long time," said Don Briscoe, legislative affairs director for IFPTE Local 17. "There is no one solution that will fix all the transit issues. But, as bleak as it sounds, we are making a start."

To assist the committee, The Boeing Company sent Al Ralston, director of government affairs. He said recent studies show that fixing all the problems could cost the state $120 billion over the next 20 years.

"This is a big deal for our state," Ralston said.

Looking out at the 28 members and guests who attended the meeting, organizer Pat Waters, SPEEA's Council Chairman, said the gathering was a good start toward building a committee with the expertise and ability to work with Boeing and help Washington State come up with solutions that are not only fiscally sound but are also practical from the engineering viewpoint.

Traffic problems are affecting all of our lives. Just as important, Boeing leaders have told state leaders that traffic will have an impact on where future Boeing work goes.

The SPEEA Transportation Committee meets again at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 27th, at SPEEA headquarters. Any SPEEA member is welcome to attend (RSVP to 206/433-0991). Get involved and you can help this important committee have an impact.

Washington State legislators and Gov. Gary Locke are now addressing transportation issues. The following web sites direct you to listings of e-mail addresses of state officials with decision-making power on this important issue. Please take a moment to send a positive message to your local official(s), asking them to address the transportation problems in our state. Additionally, you can let them know that SPEEA's Transportation Committee is ready and willing to help.

Together, we can help keep traffic moving!

Send a message!

Washington State House of Representatives:

Washington State Senate:

Washington Governor Gary Locke:

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Upcoming SPEEA Events -- Mark your Calendar!

Details on these events can be found on SPEEA's web site

May 31-June 2 Camping/River Rafting Trip Methow River & Bridgeport State Park
(camp Fri/Sat nights, raft Sat) -- $55 by May 6th ($60 after May 6th)

Sat, July 20 Annual Golf Tournament Riverbend Golf Complex (Kent) -- $50 by July 5th

Sat, July 27 Annual SPEEA Picnic Woodland Park Shelter #3 -- $2 age 11+ (children under 11 FREE)

Watch this web site for information on discounts to Wild Waves, theater, opera, sports, etc.

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Member Feedback

"EIP; forgive them brothers, for they know not what they do"

In reading the February 22, 2002 SPEEA newsletter, I can understand the frustration and resentment regarding Boeing's handling of the EIP handouts. Boeing PR has been very misleading, if not right down deceptive regarding their statements on this subject. The facts are that EIP was created to keep the non-union people from being resentful regarding the contract ratification bonus, and that Boeing excluded all union-represented employees from the program. The only "choice" we (Union employees) had was to take our contract as is or leave. This is a very important point we should not forget!

They say the price of freedom (Including association & representation) is eternal vigilance. If not getting a bonus based upon management criteria is part of that price, I, for one, am proud to pay that price. I would rather have a contract any day than to live day to day at management discretion.

Let's take this situation as an opportunity to show just how much we (unions) care about the future of the Boeing company and our individual efforts. We can also give out the "facts" regarding the EIP program and let people reach their own conclusions. What price are you willing to pay for freedom?

/s/ John H. McKean (Wichita)

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Case History

Threat management - what can happen (and did) when the Company over-reacts!

SPEEA has expressed concerns over the Threat Management Policy (PRO 1870) and the potential for misuse (and even abuse) by Company representatives. The following case, we believe is a prime example of what can happen when there is a failure to apply common sense and fairness to a policy.

Late last summer, a long time SPEEA member was notified by the Company that his fitness for duty was being challenged. With little warning, he was directed to leave the premises until his fitness for duty could be verified.

The basis of the challenge was that the individual was perceived to be a threat in the workplace based on some statements by a few co-workers that he was "intense." No one directly accused him of making any direct verbal threats, or physical gestures, or even vague threats. It was simply the perception of a few people that he "might" one day lose his temper and become violent.

The employee was shocked. What made the situation even more distressing was that the typical time-frame for completing the process to prove fitness for duty often takes several weeks to complete.

Company representatives told the employee that he could use sick leave and/or vacation time during the absence. But the employee was neither sick nor was this his idea of a vacation!

The member contacted his Contract Administrator, who got involved right away. The CA tried to persuade the Company to rescind the challenge on the basis that no credible evidence had been presented. The Company's Threat Management Team insisted that they concluded there was sufficient "evidence" to warrant removal from the workplace.

This thin thread of accusation resulted in an over reaction by the Company. Clearly, the Threat Management failed in its most fundamental purpose, proper evaluation of a potential threat.

The employee was ultimately vindicated after more than three weeks away from the workplace. The Contract Administrator vigorously pursued getting the employee back to work immediately. Within less than a week of receiving a satisfactory evaluation from a medical doctor, the employee was returned to duty.

There was one more task to be accomplished, the full restoration of the employee's pay. That too, was corrected after several conversations between the CA's and Company representatives.

Although there is no way to compensate for the stress and embarrassment that this situation caused the employee, he was very grateful to SPEEA for the active role taken by the CA's to ensure that his job status and pay were restored. On several occasions he noted that he would have been totally overwhelmed without "his" Union.

In the employee's own words:

"Thanks again for your advice and help returning me to work. Don't hesitate to call on me if I can be of help to you or the Union in any way."


It's difficult to balance to ensure the safety of employees without compromising an individual's right to due process. Regardless of the complexity, that balance must be maintained. SPEEA will continue to monitor the activities of the Company's Threat Management Team. In fact, we are hoping to obtain more in the way of training for our representatives. We will also pursue more "up front" involvement to help avoid over-reaction in the future.

Recent events in our nation have resulted in a heightened concern about "safety" and "threat intervention." We must be vigilant without sacrificing the principles of due process upon which this nation was founded. [MM]

SPEEA Makes a Difference!

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Case History
SPEEA CAN make a Difference!

A long time SPEEA activist who recently retired was having some "communication" problems with the Pension Service Center about signing up for Medicare. Time was running out and he was getting the "run around'. He decided to call upon his former Contract Administrator for help.

The contract administrator tried contacting the SPEEA Health & Welfare Operations focal but was only able to leave a voice message.

The next day the following email was received from the retiree.

I don't know what you did, or even if you called anyone as yet. But when I was talking with the people at the Retiree Service Center this morning, before I called you, they were evasive and quite uncooperative.

Then I had to take my wife to the doctor, and when I got home about four-thirty this afternoon, their attitude had completely changed. They said that everything was all right and gave me a number to use until my insurance card arrives.

So OK, tell me what you did. Did you threaten to kidnap someone's eldest child, or tell someone "I know what you did last summer?"

Anyway, something made a terrific change in their attitude, and it looks like maybe things are on the right track (for now).

Thanks a lot, see ya later!,

The SPEEA Health & Welfare Operations focal was commended for continuing to provide timely and effective support. [DG]

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Colleges seek "labor reps" for advisory boards

Several local community colleges are seeking "Labor Representatives" to serve on their various advisory boards.

The Labor Rep serves along with college administrators, instructors and industry representatives. They discuss the curriculum, and the needs of the hiring/labor community to ensure compatability.

Seattle Central Community College

Information Technology

South Seattle Community College

Business Information Technology

Seattle Vocational Institute (part of Seattle Central CC)

Business Computer Applications

North Seattle Community College

Network Technology (office administration focus)

HOW TO APPLY: If you have some knowledge in any of these areas and are interested in applying - please email your name, work & home phone number, and statement of interest & qualifications to For more information, contact Robbi at (206) 433-0995 x126.

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40-days on the line

Anniversary Open House

March 20th

2 pm - 6:30 pm

SPEEA Tukwila & Everett Offices

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Lunchtime meeting re: Outsourcing

Staff member Stan Sorscher is hosting another lunchtime meeting to discuss Layoffs, Outsourcing and Employment Dynamics.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
11:00 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
40-87.2 Building, Room 21F10
Contact: Gary Ottman (425) 342-5106

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11:40 a.m.
40-87.2 Building, Room 21F10
Contact: Gary Ottman (425) 342-5106

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