Home Contact News Organizing General info Negotiations Northwest Midwest Archive
Special Pubs
Political Action

March 22, 2002 Newsletter #1873


Executive Board election results

Notes from Exec. Director: "Now we all know"

Notes from Exec. Director: "SPEEA has no King - that's a good thing"

FMCS Director addresses Council

SPEEA Vision, Mission, Goals, Values

Partnership Update

Proper Performance Management form

Council highlights - March 14th

Council wants jobs kept in U.S.

New staff member - Shilpa Rajgire

Upcoming Meetings

Executive Board election results

On Wednesday, March 13, 2002, the SPEEA Tellers Committee met to count ballots in the annual SPEEA Executive Board election. Since the results for Secretary were so close, they conducted a recount on Thursday morning, March 14th. The results of the balloting are shown here.

Back to Contents

Notes from the Executive Director
Now we all know (Part 1)

I've been involved with SPEEA for over two decades. I joined SPEEA when I hired into Boeing in 1980.
I was a Member, an Area Rep, a Council Rep, an Executive Board member and SPEEA President before having the privilege and honor of serving as SPEEA's Executive Director - a position I have held since 1991.

I think most people (except for ego-maniacs) tend to think that others know what they know. I'm like most people, so I thought that everyone knew certain basic things about SPEEA. Things that set SPEEA apart from most of the other unions in the U.S. and the world - good things that ensure that SPEEA keeps a member focus while providing the best member service possible.

The recent Executive Board campaign, including much of the rhetoric generated in it and the reaction to the elections, has reminded me that many people view SPEEA as a traditional union. So, please indulge me and maybe you will learn something about how special SPEEA is.

SPEEA is member-driven and honors our members and activists

Many candidates wrote that SPEEA should be member-driven and honor the members and activists that make all the good things happen. Some said we should survey our members and provide email on topics and encourage members to get involved in our committees and decision-making processes.

These are GREAT ideas - so great that others have already thought of them and they are already in place. We honor and employ these principles in many ways. Using negotiations as an example: The Negotiation Prep Committee has already run one survey, and set the groundwork for a second web-based survey that has already gotten nearly 2,000 responses. Members today are already planning for negotiations support including strike contingencies and issue awareness and support. SPEEA Staff is holding lunchtime meetings on offloading to raise member awareness and gather member input (which we will use in other forums to push our agenda). Members applied and were screened by Council committees to populate the Puget Sound and Wichita negotiation teams. The respective Councils have chosen their teams, which are already meeting with Staff and have begun the negotiation process. We have a first meeting with Boeing's top people scheduled for March 29th.

SPEEA does honor our members and activists - the source of our power and decisions. One thing we do is hold yearly recognition banquets to honor our activists. It is a time to say thanks to the activists and to their families who shoulder a great load. It is important for the organization to say thanks, on behalf of all our members, to the people who go the extra mile for the union, with no expected reward.

Back to Contents 

Notes from the Executive Director
SPEEA has no King - that's a good thing (Part 2)

In all unions, all power is vested in the members; but, for the union to function effectively, many of the member authorities and responsibilities are delegated to representatives. In many traditional unions, someone is voted King (or Queen). A single person gets to make the big decisions: set policy, deploy staff, and speak for the union on all issues.

SPEEA's structure is fairly unique among labor unions in the world today. According to one labor expert who attended a SPEEA Council meeting, "SPEEA is one of the most democratic unions - ever."

With our Constitution, SPEEA members have wisely chosen to distribute their authority and responsibility among three groups:

* The Full and Regional Councils set SPEEA policy;

* The Executive Board ensures alignment of SPEEA's policies and actions; and

* The Staff implements on a daily basis (per Full Board direction and Council policy).

With the Constitution, SPEEA members have opted to term-limit elected officers and employ a full time Staff. This balances keeping SPEEA's elected leadership (which has control of the union) connected and responsive to members while also allowing SPEEA to possess institutional knowledge, valuable expertise and long-term relationships that serve SPEEA members.

When these three groups (Councils, Executive Board, and Staff) act in concert as envisioned in the Constitution, there is no better system to provide both relevant membership control and maximum positive results.

Using negotiations as an example: The members and their elected representatives make all decisions. The more important the decision; the more members that are involved in making it.

The SPEEA Council (which is comprised of members selected by members) picks their own negotiation team(s) comprised of SPEEA members. Once a team is selected, it is fairly autonomous. The teams have exclusive authority to lift offers from the Table and make recommendations (including strike). Only the full membership has the authority to collectively accept or reject contracts or approve or reject a strike.

The Executive Board has little to do with negotiations except to see that there is money to fund it. The President has observer rights for negotiations; but, like the rest of the Board, has no vote or unique power over negotiations.

The Staff provides expertise (trains the team, negotiates the contract, and serves as subject-matter experts) but has no vote or power over negotiations (including lifting the offer, making recommendations, or calling for or authorizing a strike.)

SPEEA has no one person who makes decisions for the membership. While this may be different from many other unions, I believe that it is one of SPEEA's greatest strengths - it ensures that members are always in control and member involvement is both encouraged and meaningful.

To summarize: SPEEA is unique in our democratic governance structure, we already honor and involve our members in many ways, and we have no King (or Queen). Now we all know.

Back to Contents

FMCS Director Richard Barnes addresses SPEEA Council

Guest speaker at the March 14th SPEEA Council meeting was Richard Barnes, Director of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS). The FMCS and Mr. Barnes mediated SPEEA's 1999 negotiations with Boeing. He was instrumental in helping the parties reach a final agreement ending our 40-day strike.

Before joining the FMCS, Barnes worked for the Laborers International Union, and helped negotiate over 300 labor agreements in 37 industries. After he joined the FMCS, he played a key role in its four-year strategic reorganization.

Barnes described the operation of FMCS, where 200 staff people assist in mediating labor negotiations. They monitor over 45,000 separate negotiations a year, everything from a 2-person bargaining unit to the 185,000 UPS/Teamsters unit. With their reorganization, he said, they strive to deliver high-quality conflict resolution services, with positive results for labor, business, industry, government and the nation at large.

Barnes presented a "Model of Communications" and talked about different types of leadership (Visionary, Risk Taker, Builder, Administrator, Bureaucrat, Aristocrat) and how they all play a role in an organization. He provided some humorous examples of various types of people. (His presentation can be found here at

In closing, he noted that "SPEEA has smart leadership -- you were represented well last time; and you'll be represented well again this year". He suggested we not focus on "three years" but on the next decade, growing the organization.

Back to Contents

Proper Performance Management Form

We have been asked by some members about the proper form to be used in "Performance Management".

PUGET SOUND AREA SPEEA-represented employees should all use the same "Performance Management Form". This form was jointly developed by SPEEA and Boeing a few years back, and we have not agreed to use a different form in the Puget Sound Area.

The proper form can be found at the following web site:

Dean Tudor, Ed Wells staff, helped put together a "10-minute Trainer on Performance Management" that is helpful in completing the P/M process. We encourage you to check it out at the following web site:

Council Highlights - March 14, 2002

The Council PASSED the following motions:

  • to approve the SPEEA 2002/03 Fiscal Year Budget, as submitted by the Executive Board (amended to include a "miscellaneous fund" for the Midwest, in the amount of $2,907);
  • to approve SPEEA's Vision, Mission, Goals and Values (see related article on page 3);
  • to revise SPEEA By-Laws, which revisions had been published to the members in two newsletters;
  • to revise SPEEA's Policy Manual as it relates to the definition of "in the Puget Sound Area" vs. "outplant";
  • for SPEEA to actively promote legislation to encourage US corporations to keep jobs in the United States; and
  • to support IAM Locals 709, 1027 & 2386 (Georgia, W. Virginia & Mississippi) in their strike against Lockheed-Martin, over the issue of outsourcing of jobs.

Newly-elected Executive Board members were congratulated, and Tellers Committee members were thanked for their efforts in completing the Executive Board ballot count.

Executive Director Charles Bofferding reported on the successful negotiations in Irving, TX (Alan Mulally's team stood up and took charge to help make the right things happen) ... Charles said we need to pull together as a team, assume the best about each other, and have the best possible impact for our members. We face an historic year - let's make history!

Craig Buckham expressed his disappointment that his tenure as SPEEA President is nearing an end. He thanked the other candidates and acknowledged the winners. Craig said he is committed to the success of SPEEA and he'll do everything he can to help us succeed together. He pledged his full support to the new Executive Board. He recounted many of the historic SPEEA successes that occurred during his presidency, noting that all of them were the result of all of us working together, as a Union. He said he's proud of the SPEEA Staff and the outgoing Executive Board, noting these people have been tireless and effective in serving our members' interests. Craig said he is proud of running an honest, positive campaign that offered a real agenda. He said that the Union is in its strongest position ever, he encouraged the new Board members to take advantage of this. Craig concluded that he has truly enjoyed this experience: "It has been an honor serving as your President. Thank you for the opportunity, thank you for your support, thank you for this time together." (He received a standing ovation).

Staff member Dick Goyt reported on activities of the Joint Workforce Committee. SPEEA layoffs are tracking lower than those Company-wide due in part to contract employees going first. The Company reported they have been downgrading and laying off managers, too, during this downsizing. SPEEA is monitoring layoff activity and has filed grievances in instances where layoffs are out of order, or contractors remain in skill codes of surplussed employees. Following the December retention exercise, SPEEA filed about 100 retention appeals; and was successful in about 50% of the appeals. The Joint Workforce Committee is starting to identify a list of contract issues for discussion in upcoming negotiations.

Paul Shearon reported on our ongoing organizing campaign in St. Louis. The affiliation we made with the AFL-CIO has provided us a full-time staff person - Eddie Oliviera - to assist in our organizing campaign there. The Company has told St. Louis folks they will be getting the same raise as we negotiated in the SPEEA contracts ... Paul said he wanted to talk about organizing, our upcoming negotiations, and sticking together. He said SCPEA is a prime example of a case of not sticking together, and look what is happening there! Contracts provide protection not only for employees, but also employers. When workers stick together, they get what they need ... With regard to SCPEA, a decertification hearing has been scheduled by the National Labor Relations Board to start on March 25th. SPEEA will be represented at that hearing, and we expect it may end up with a date for an election. The Company has hired Richard Hankins, union-buster from Atlanta, Georgia, to represent them in Southern California. Paul added, it is extremely important that we NOT provide information to Mr. Hankins that can be used against us in an organizing campaign! Our strength is in our unity. Let's move forward!

Jimmie Mathis reported the SPEEA Governing Documents Committee is reviewing the Policy Manual to see which sections should be placed in "Regional" policy; they hope to bring a proposal to the June Council Convention for a vote.

Carolyn Wood of Wichita reported the Leadership Development & Training Committee is preparing for the June Leadership Conference. She invited interested members to join their committee, which normally meets in Tukwila & Wichita the first Tuesday of each month (except April will be the first Wednesday).

Pat Waters reported the SPEEA Transportation Committee held its kickoff meeting, with 28 members in attendance. He invited anyone interested in helping to find a solution to the transportation problems in the Puget Sound area to attend the next meeting on March 27th. (RSVP to 206/433-0991)

Prof Team member Cynthia Cole reported on the activities of the Negotiation Team. They met before tonight's meeting with our guest speaker FMCS Director Richard Barnes, listening to his advice and words of wisdom. The Team has held two meetings; they have put together internal groundrules, discussed coordination with the Wichita negotiation team, and selected members to staff the various subcommittees. Tom McCarty volunteered to serve as Liaison to the Negotiations Support Committee. The team will be publishing educational articles, providing regular reports to the Council meeting, and holding area and lunchtime meetings to gather member input and feedback as we prepare for negotiations. Internal team training will be held March 28th, and the Team will get to meet Company negotiators in a meeting on March 29th.

Back to Contents


Outsourcing update
SPEEA Council wants jobs kept in U.S.

By a near unanimous vote, the SPEEA Council recently moved to actively promote legislation that will encourage corporations to keep jobs in the United States.

Proposed by the SPEEA Legislative and Public Affairs Committee, the motion passed the SPEEA Council by a vote of 114 to 2.

"We need to do more than simply look at achieving contract language that opposes outsourcing," said Committee Chairman Joel Funfar (P-4).

In supporting the motion, the Council agreed to continue researching the impact of outsourcing on U.S. workers, build and expand the Coalition of Labor Unions at Boeing (CLUB), and continue lobbying members of Congress to promote legislation aimed at maintaining existing and creating new U.S. jobs.

The lobbying effort stretches from local officials to Congressional leaders. Joel said the SPEEA effort includes working with links established through Council of Engineers & Scientists (CESO) and IFPTE.

"Everywhere that Boeing is we will contact Congressional leaders," Funfar said. "We need to do this to protect our members' jobs."

What cost to the Company?

Boeing recently hired Rillos Engineering to perform NC work after many talented and experienced SPEEA NC programmers were laid off. While all indications are that Rillos is a Contractor, the Company is calling Rillos a vendor.

The "contractor" title is based on the amount of time Rillos employees spent on Boeing premises, their use of Boeing computer assets, and the constant haranguing of SPEEA employees for assistance. The Company has even held all-day training courses for the employees of Rillos. These classes are partially taught by the father of the owner of Rillos.

SPEEA is grieving the arrangement between Rillos and the Company as a violation of Article 9 of our Contracts. To date, the Company continues to maintain that this is a vendor arrangement and a pilot program to establish competent core vendors to handle temporary additional bouts of NC work.

In addition to SPEEA assertions that the arrangement is a violation of Article 9, we also point out the enormous waste of resources. The Company ignores the amount of time being spent by Boeing employees answering questions from Rillos employees.

We also have information stating that on two separate occasions, 5-Axis NC Machines crashed while running NC Programs written by Rillos. This resulted in 7 M-Days of machine down time, at least two scrapped parts, two scrapped cutters, machine repair work, idled machine operators and possibly a missed load date for the parts.

We have asked management if they are tracking these wastes, and we are awaiting their reply. A preliminary cost estimate places the cost of the two machine crashes at more than $50,000.

Back to Contents

New staff member in St. Louis

Last Fall, we announced we had hired Eric Sigman to serve as office staff support in the SPEEA St. Louis office. Eric has found full-time employment in Chicago (We wish Eric well in his new job, and we'll be sure to call on him for support should it become necessary to picket Boeing World Headquarters again...)

We have hired Shilpa Rajgire to take over the support for the St. Louis office, managing the database and calling employees in the plant. Shilpa is a student at the University of Missouri St. Louis and will be working part-time for SPEEA. Welcome, Shilpa!

Back to Contents

New Council Reps seated

The Tellers Committee met on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 to review new Council petitions received and to count ballots for contested District E-18 (as well as Executive Board).

Two candidates who submitted petitions for Council Rep were qualified and unopposed, so they were seated by the Tellers, as follows:

E-9 Steve Spyridis (Profs, Everett, 40-88 Building)

R-7 Bob Wilkerson (Profs, Renton, 10-18 & 10-20 Bldgs)

DISTRICT E-18 Ballot results

There was a contest in District E-18, where five candidates were running for two positions. Tellers counted ballots with the following results:

Total ballots authorized 327
Invalid ballots (wrong election) 2
Total valid ballots cast (39%) 127

FOR Lawrence Dennis 22
FOR Bruce Liomin (31%) 39
FOR Todd Ritcheson 21
FOR Douglas S. Theer 32
FOR Jim Cotton 13

Congratulations to Bruce Liomin who will serve the remainder of the term as Council Rep for District E-18 (Techs, Everett, 40-23, 40-24, 40-25, 40-26, 40-35, 40-36 & 40-37 Buildings)

Back to Contents

Council vacancies - Districts E-11, K-3 & W-10

Due to the recent transfer of Steve Spyridis from District E-11 to District E-9, there is now a vacancy for Council Rep in District E-11 (Profs, Everett, 40-87 Building).

And following election to the Executive Board by Michael Dunn and Jennifer Mackay, we also have vacancies for Council Rep in District K-3 (Profs, Kent, 18-26 & 18-63 Buildings) - and District W-10 (Profs & Techs in Spokane).

If you reside in one of these districts, meet the one-year membership qualification, and wish to apply for the vacancy - please contact Terry Hall for instructions (206/433-0995 x130 or

Your completed petition must be received at SPEEA Headquarters NO LATER THAN NOON, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10 (the day before the next Council meeting) in order to be valid.

If your petition is found valid, and you are unopposed, the Tellers will seat you in time for the April 11th Council meeting. If more than one valid petition is submitted for a district, then ballots will be mailed to all members in the district, and you will be seated in time for the May 9th Council meeting.

Back to Contents

Member's daughter can still use help

In our June 8th newsletter, we published an article about SPEEA member Maureen Holcomb whose medical conditions caused her to take tremendous amounts of medical leave without pay. Maureen subsequently passed away on October 29th. She was a single mom with a 17-year-old daughter, Cecilia. The bills piled up, leaving little to pay for the daughter to go to college.

In November, Cecilia was awarded Student of the Month at Lynnwood High School. She has received her grades for winter quarter and has a 3.99 GPA. High-school graduation will be June 14th. She has been accepted to Western Washington University in the fall. For those still interested in helping Cecilia with her schooling, checks can be made out to Cecilia Holcomb and mailed to:

Cecilia Holcomb
c/o Debi Pennington
P.O. Box 3731
Everett WA 98201-3731

Back to Contents

Negotiations Support Committee seeks volunteers

The Puget Sound area Prof & Tech negotiation teams are seeking volunteers to serve on this year's Negotiation Support Committee. This committee's charter is to provide support for the 2002 contract negotiations as it relates to picketing, letter-writing, membership protests and other sanctions.

If you are interested in volunteering to serve on this committee, please contact Robbi at (206) 433-0995, x126 or email A kickoff meeting date will be announced.


WEU is also seeking volunteers to staff their Negotiations Support Committee in Wichita. If you are interested in volunteering in Wichita, contact Lacey at (316) 682-0262 or email

Back to Contents


Solving problems

One of our Council Reps was recently assisting a member who was being subjected to a Notice of Remedial Action (NORA) for perceived performance deficiencies. Throughout this ordeal, the employee showed continual successful progress with the assignments given. Towards the end, management asserted that the employee was not performing the higher-level work. They failed to provide the assignments associated with the correct level for this employee. When this was pointed out, the employee's NORA was extended to accommodate this "oversight".

During the extension period, it became glaringly apparent that the employee was not going to be successful in the higher-level of work. Even though the employee had been with the Company for several years, the employee had never been exposed to this jobcode nor this organization prior to the recent transfer in. SPEEA received feedback through the local HR rep that management was intending to terminate this employee for her "performance deficiencies".

SPEEA argued steadfastly that termination was not the optimum alternative in this particular case. The contract allows for downgrade or involuntary layoff without right of recall in lieu of termination (subject to management approval) for performance deficiencies.

The local Contract Administrator advanced the rationale to the appropriate Workforce and Union Relations focals for an additional review. Once all the details had been thoroughly covered, SPEEA received confirmation that the employee would receive an involuntary layoff with the associated benefits. [BR]

SPEEA maintains that, as a Union, we tend to be "problem solvers" instead of being an adversary of the Employer. This case exemplifies that this approach does work for the benefit of our membership, and that:

By Working Together, We CAN Make A Difference!

Back to Contents


p align="CENTER">By Working Together, We CAN Make A Difference!

Back to Contents