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April 26, 2002 Newsletter #1878


Annual enrollment - May 1st through 24th

Midwest Region
By-Laws on web

Cogswell College offers assistance to laid-off Boeing workers

Notes from the Executive Director SPEEA is a GREAT Union

"Boeing Savings Plans Online" updated

Everett SPEEA members support
Laid Off Rinker Materials members

Swain announces Exceptional Invention Award improvement

Competing for the long-term

Council Vacancies

Commodity or Community

The APESMA Big Mac Index --
Graduate Engineer Salaries

Introducing "TotalAccess"

Camping/Whitewater River-Rafting Trip

Annual enrollment - May 1st through 24th

Health and welfare plans (medical, dental and VPA) annual enrollment is May 1st through 24th for employees represented by SPEEA.

Employees who want to keep their current plans do not need to make an election during enrollment - coverage under your current plans automatically will be renewed. Changes made during annual enrollment will take effect on July 1.

New for this year's annual enrollment is the Boeing Service Center website: Your Benefits Resources. The website is the best way for eligible employees to learn about coverage options and make plan changes.

Annual enrollment information was mailed this past week to the homes of eligible employees. The information included instructions for contacting the Boeing Service Center for Health and Welfare Plans, by computer and telephone, to make plan and coverage changes.

Premium Co-pays continue for Traditional Medical Plan

We have learned that premiums will continue at the maximum allowable for employees who choose the Traditional Medical Plan -- $10/month for employee only, $20/month for employee & spouse, and $30/month for employee & family. Claims paid by Boeing through this plan far exceeded the CPI-Medical for this plan year.

In discussions with the Company, we find that some of the reasons for these high costs are increase in doctor office visits, use of brand name prescription drugs (in lieu of generic), and requests for more expensive high-tech services that are currently advertised on the market. The population is also getting older. We were told, if there was no cap, premium co-pays for the TMP could be as high as $50 / $100 / $150. SPEEA asked the Company to work with us to educate employees on ways they can help reduce these costs in the future.

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Midwest Region By-Laws on web

The Midwest Region Council will be voting on approval of Midwest Region By-Laws at their May 9th meeting. The proposed Midwest Region By-Laws are now posted on the web, for member review. You can find these by-laws at, and click on the "SPEEA Midwest" tab.

We encourage all Midwest Region members to review these and provide any input you might have to your Council Rep, prior to their vote.

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Cogswell College offers assistance to laid-off Boeing workers

Henry Cogswell College, in Everett, has announced that it will offer immediate tuition assistance of up to 50% to all workers laid off from Boeing and related industries since September 11, 2002. The tuition assistance will apply to all students, including continuing and returning students and new applicants. This program will continue for two years or until the recipient returns to work for a company offering tuition benefits.

Henry Cogswell College offers Bachelor's degrees in Business, Computer Science, Digital Arts Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and Professional Management. All programs are covered in this assistance package.

For further information, those interested should contact Kelly Campbell or Rob Hatfield at (425) 258-3351.

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Notes from the Executive Director
SPEEA is a GREAT Union

My title might be criticized as hyperbole, but I know it to be a fact.

I know it for many reasons:

First there are the data:
SPEEA is one of the fastest growing unions in America ... we are strong partners in our County Labor Councils ... we made great strides in our last contract negotiations in the Puget Sound ... organized the Wichita WTPU ... just negotiated a good contract in Irving ... and are poised to have another great negotiations on three contracts this year. We have established ourselves as strong committed advocates for our members, and we are using our power to represent and serve our membership during tough times. We have partnered with Boeing as equals to get the perspective of employees into the processes that will affect us all.

Most importantly there are the people:
I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Wichita Awards Banquet. There will be a much more detailed article in our next SPOTLITE, but I couldn't help but mention the occasion. Just this year SPEEA has switched from one Awards Banquet to regional banquets. This allows for more local participation and helps develop the local sense of community that is so essential to SPEEA's strength in each location where we represent people.

All I can say is WOW. Over 100 Wichita and Irving leaders and activists attended the Midwest Awards Banquet. It was quite an evening. In this small article I can't list all the awards, but one certainly bears mentioning. For the first time in SPEEA history, the Stephen Pezzini H.O.P.E (Helping other people excel) Award was awarded to someone from outside of the Puget Sound area. Wichita Council Rep Harold Evans and his family were in attendance as Harold received his award. Harold is a great example of the competence, integrity and action of countless SPEEA members.

SPEEA does what the members do. SPEEA members do GREAT things and that makes SPEEA great. SPEEA is a GREAT union. I've always known that, but wow, do I know it when surrounded by SPEEA's best.

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"Boeing Savings Plans Online" updated
The Voluntary Investment Plan/Financial Security Plan Web site has a new name: Boeing Savings Plans Online. This change reflects the addition of more plans and enhanced Web site content. The site has a new look, a new URL Web address, and new features added in response to employee feedback. Please bookmark the new URL for future access. The former URL will direct you to the new Web site only until May 3.


Everett SPEEA members support Laid Off Rinker Materials members
Even during the tumultuous layoffs occurring at The Boeing Company, SPEEA members and staff took the opportunity to share their lunch period with nearly 40 employees being laid off by Rinker Materials in Everett. A rally was held starting at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 19th, at the entrance to the employer's facility. Nearly 100 people consisting of employees, families, and members of organized labor provided much needed reinforcements for their cause.

This employer had previously announced the closure of its pipe plant and provided severance packages to its non-represented personnel. (Sound familiar?) The employees represented by the various unions involved were being treated shabbily in contrast to the non-union counterparts. By virtue of the quick organization and orchestration of the rally coordinated through the Snohomish County Labor Council, more productive last-hour negotiations commenced for the affected employees.

SPEEA was represented at the rally by Council Representatives, a Tech Negotiation Team member and several staff members. Numerous Boeing employees took time during the lunch hour to drive by the activity "honking support" for the employees. Council Rep Kurt Schuetz joined with his father Jim Schuetz (a UAW member during his career), in stressing the need for continued solidarity within organized labor and the community. [BR]

SPEEA Continues to Make a Difference!

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Swain announces Exceptional Invention Award improvement

Inventors with exceptional ideas can look forward to an improvement in the Boeing Exceptional Invention Award program, reported Dave Swain, Boeing Chief Technology Officer and Office of the Chairman. Cash awards have been replaced with awards of 1,000 restricted Boeing stock units per individual and up to 5,000 restricted stock units per invention. Restricted stock units mature in increments over a five-year period and, depending on the value of the Boeing stock, could be worth significantly more than the previous cash awards. The Exceptional Award is for inventions of unusual and outstanding business and technical merit. Candidates must have first submitted their inventions on an invention disclosure form to Boeing Intellectual Property Business.

For more information on the process, check out

For further assistance in filing an invention disclosure form, contact IP Consulting's Seattle number (206) 655-7980.

Coming Soon: Interactive Patent Wizard

An interactive tool is in work that will allow Boeing innovators to fill out a disclosure form on line, providing even more assistance in documenting inventions, filling out required forms, and routing the information to IP personnel and the U.S. Patents Office. (This application is currently in the preliminary development stage. Look for updates on its progress on the web page noted above.)

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Competing for the long-term
By Bill Dugovich, Communications Director

What could you do with $10 billion?

If you worked in a tall office building in Chicago and focused on short-term shareholder value, you might decide to buy back 200 million shares of Boeing stock at $50 per share.

Never mind that your employees, customers and the general public might want you to focus on maintaining the long-term health and competitiveness of the largest aerospace firm in the world. Never mind that you want to build a great new jetliner, the Sonic Cruiser, and the money to buy the stock back could cover the entire cost of R&D (research and development), design and manufacture, of this new jetliner.

Boeing actually pondered this $10 billion question shortly after the merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. What do you think they did?

Boeing's top brass, at the time still working in Seattle, announced a stock repurchase plan. The goal was simple - drive up the price of Boeing stock.

The stock repurchase program soaked up 20 percent of Boeing's original capitalization, about $10 billion in rough numbers.

A comment repeatedly heard in the workplace is that the Sonic Cruiser is a $13 billion program with a $3 billion budget. Boeing is now in the process of making up that $10 billion difference by dividing up work on the Sonic Cruiser among its many global partners. Each partner takes a share of the financing. In exchange, the partners receive parts of the R&D, design and manufacturing. In very simple terms, Boeing is mortgaging the Sonic Cruiser, the most innovative new product in 50 years, so the Company can increase profits today. This mortgage distributes large portions of the Company's knowledge and competitive advantage to suppliers around the world where it is less secure from our competitors.

In exchange for this mortgage, shareholders receive the equivalent of $8-10 per share. Some of these shareholders have already traded their profits for shares in Cisco, Enron or General Electric.

I always thought companies sold common stock to raise money for investing in products, equipment and factories. Boeing's current business strategy turns that around. Instead of investing, Boeing is divesting itself of human knowledge (layoffs), physical capital (selling plants) and returning the proceeds to shareholders in the form of short-term profits.

If Boeing followed today's business plan when it developed the 747 in the mid-1960's, it's debatable if the Company would be here today.

When you stop and think, none of this strategy makes sense.


[Staff member Stan Sorscher contributed to this article.]

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Council Vacancies

District N-1
A resignation has been received from Lawren Havlik, creating a vacancy in the Council Rep position for District N-1 (WEU, Wichita, Buildings 3-190Z; 3-200X; 5-5027/4509).

If you reside in this area, meet the minimum one-year SPEEA membership qualification, and are interested in serving your co-workers as their Union rep - please complete and return your petition to the Wichita SPEEA office no later than NOON, MAY 8th. If you have questions, contact Lacey at (316) 682-0262 or

District E-6
A resignation has been received from Mark Sullivan, creating a vacancy in the Council Rep position for District E-6 (Techs, Everett, 40-81, 40-82 & 40-85 Buildings).

If you reside in this area, meet the minimum one-year SPEEA membership qualification, and are interested in serving your co-workers as their Union rep - please complete and return your petition to SPEEA Headquarters no later than NOON, MAY 8th (may be faxed to 206/248-3990). If you have questions, contact Terry at (206) 433-0995 x130 or

An extensive training course is provided. Thepetition can be downloaded from the SPEEA web site at:


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Commodity or Community
By Stan Sorscher, SPEEA Staff

An IAM researcher gave me an interesting glimpse at how our outsourcing situation is seen by the financial community. He said business executives are fascinated by unit costs for labor and capacity, while we are accustomed to thinking in terms of an integrated technical community. On a spreadsheet, unit costs are clearly visible. In fact, that's almost all they see. We recognize value that does not appear on a spreadsheet - value that we experience every day in our interactions at work.

In simple terms, it's the difference between commodity and community.

A commodity is typically a standardized interchangeable product with readily-available market equivalents. Hose-clamps, hard-drives, cell phones, and 2% milk are well defined, mature products with efficient markets. It makes sense to purchase commodities based on unit costs.

In our heavily-engineered environment, we improve processes and products, and resolve problems together with other internal groups, and externally with customers and suppliers. Our technical and manufacturing community, taken as a whole, has value that greatly exceeds the sum of our parts. Commodities have little value when combined. Communities have great value when their parts are combined.

If Boeing ignores 'community,' they will be selling off decades of legacy at bargain-basement prices.

Mature Industry
Analysts say aerospace is "mature" meaning that innovation, coordination and development have slowed. If so, then engineering from Lufthansa or Brazil or Hungary would be equivalent to ours. I see a serious misperception in that view. We may be mature in terms of "growth", but we are still a heavily-engineered industry, with very high demands for coordination, information flow and strong technical interaction. Our experience, work packages and people are not interchangeable. Expertise, accumulated knowledge, and networks of relationships add considerable value, even with e-mail, common databases, and CATIA.

Getting from Here to There
Some industries have fragmented in a way that maintains their professional or technical communities. Silicon Valley is highly fragmented, but also very efficient in terms of information flow, coordination, and network of relationships. The motion picture industry is fragmented but maintains very strong community characteristics.

Today, Boeing's globalization effort seems focused primarily on unit costs. Any legitimate business decision must also account for the value held in the sum of our parts.

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The APESMA Big Mac Index -- Graduate Engineer Salaries

The international business magazine, "the economist" uses the price of a McDonald's "Big Mac" as a benchmark for comparing the cost of living in countries around the world. The "Big Mac" is a standardized product internationally, similar to the bottle of "Coke".

APESMA (the union representing engineers in Australia) has established the "APESMA Big Mac Index" to compare graduate engineer salaries internationally. The index shows the number of minutes that a graduate engineer needs to work in selected countries to purchase a "Big Mac". The comparison assumes a 40-hour week.

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Introducing "TotalAccess"

At the end of April, Boeing TotalAccess will introduce a new toll-free number that provides the convenience of calling one number for payroll, human resources and benefits support.

In addition to answering your human resources and payroll questions, Boeing TotalAccess will connect you with the service centers for Health and Welfare, Savings, and Pension/Retirement plans.

TotalAccess also begins the transition away from using your Social Security number as an employee identifier. To better protect your privacy, Boeing TotalAccess will use the Boeing Electronic Messaging System identifier (BEMSid) to provide a unique identification for all Boeing employees, even when there are two or more people with the same name. (Please note that your BEMSid is not the same as your clock number.)

For added security, you will need to use a PIN in conjunction with your BEMSid when you call the TotalAccess. A six-digit TotalAccess personal identification number (PIN) was mailed to you in late April at your home address on Boeing record.

If you do not know your BEMSid, you can find it on the Boeing Look Up Everything System (BLUES) Web site at, the Boeing employee White pages and your MyInfo account.

If you do not receive your TotalAccess PIN by April 29, you can request a new one by calling TotalAccess at 1-866-473-2016. (The hearing impaired may use their local relay service to connect.) You can also change your PIN after April 29 by calling TotalAccess. Customer-service representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time.

While the TotalAccess toll-free number conveniently connects you to the service centers for Health and Welfare plans, Savings plans, and Pension/Retirement Plans, for now you will still need to use your Social Security number and the password or PIN you use today for each of these service centers. However, by the end of 2003, you will only need your BEMSid and TotalAccess PIN for all of these services.

Please watch for your TotalAccess PIN notification in the mail. More details about TotalAccess will be communicated throughout the year.

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Camping/Whitewater River-Rafting Trip

SPEEA is sponsoring its 7th Annual trip on the weekend following Memorial Day. We will camp at the group site at Bridgeport State Park (a beautiful facility near Pateros in Eastern WA) on Friday through Sunday, May 31 to June 2. And we'll raft the famous Methow River on the afternoon of Saturday, June 1st. Our guides, Pacific Rim Expeditions, will assure a safe but fun trip. This is a great family event! The guides provide standard life jackets and a substantial lunch. Then we'll enjoy a potluck dinner around the campfire on Saturday night.

Cost is $55 per person (price goes up to $60pp after May 6th). Package includes two nights camping (Fri & Sat), and the raft trip with lunch on Saturday.

If you have questions, call Robbi Alberts at (w) 206/433-0995 x126 or (h) 425/235-6348, or email

Space is limited, so make your reservations today! Mail the coupon below, with your check(s) to: SPEEA Rafting Trip, 15205 - 52nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98188. (You may also pay by credit card.)

RESERVATION FORM -- SPEEA River Rafting/Camping Trip

Enclosed is my check (payable to SPEEA) in the amount of $_______ for ____ people at $55 each ($60 each after

May 6) for the June 1st rafting trip.

Name ____________________________Clock #_________ W. Phone______________ H.Phone_______________

Email: (w)________________________________________ (h) __________________________________________

Address ______________________________________________________________________________________

GUEST(s) NAME(s) _____________________________________________________________________________
(if children, include ages)

I'd like to rent: ___ wetsuit & booties (@ $10) OR ___ booties only (@ $3)

Specify for each: Height _____ Weight _____ Shoe Size _____

(Include separate check, payable to "Pacific Rim Expeditions")

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Learning Opportunities through Ed Wells

The Ed Wells Initiative offers learning opportunities with Short Courses, Focus Events, Business Skills Training, and Mentoring Skills Training. Find links to the events below.

Short Courses
1) Theory of Inventive Problem Solving-TRIZ. Spaces are available in the May 6-10 and the June10-14 classes.
Link to:

Focus Events
1) Fault Analysis for System Engineers, taught by Dr.Ron Carson, is offered Saturday May 11 by International Council on System Engineering (INCOSE).
Link to:

2) PMI Research Conference 2002, hosted by the Project Management Institute, will be in Seattle, July 14-17, 2002.
Link to:

3) Optical Science and Technology Symposium, hosted by The International Society for Optical Engineering, takes place on July 7-11, 2002 in Seattle and will offer a wide variety of tutorials and exhibits.
Link to:

Business Skills Training-NEW!
Requested by SPEEA-represented employees. New courses aimed at improving the business skills that make technical skills shine for the pick of local seminars in communication, presentation and negotiations.
Link to:

Mentoring Skills Training
Knowledge Sharing Through Mentoring workshops begin in May.
Link to:

Other Technical Events
1) Metals Technology Exchange-MTE 2002, will be held June 18-20, 2002 in Seattle. A Boeing- sponsored knowledge-sharing conference. Link to:

2) Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) Technology Interest Group hosts lunchtime workshops.
Link to:

3) NC Programming Forum convenes April 23-25 at the Longacres 25-01 bldg.
Link to:

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New SPEEA Discounter

At their meeting on April 18th, the SPEEA Executive Board approved adding the following firm to SPEEA's discount list:

YAKTRAX (Bremerton) - (360) 479-5934. Winter footwear device with patented Skidlock coil system (spike-free, strapless, ultralight); attach to shoes for confident winter walking. Reg. $19.95/pair; SPEEA members pay $15.00/pair. 90-day warranty. Web: Email Fax: (360) 479-0270.

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Exploring all options

An employee recently came into the SPEEA office distraught over a redeployment job offer form that he recently received. Within the previous ten months, the employee had laterally transferred from his previous jobcode and level to his present assignment. This new job offer form would now downgrade the employee by one level along with reducing his annual salary by a net of $8,500. If he chose not to accept this "less than equivalent" job offer, he would have been identified for layoff within 14 days.

Upon providing this information to his Contract Administrator (CA), calls were immediately made to both Human Resources (HR) and Union Relations. The HR representative clarified that the responsibility for the decision for this action rested solely with the employee's skill team. Their concerns were that the employee did not have the requisite skills to perform at the higher level and that the employee would be able to compete more effectively with the peers after downgrade. The problem that existed from SPEEA's perspective was that, when downgrades have previously occurred, typically either no money was deducted from annual salary or just the amount of money one would receive in the event of a reclassification to a higher grade would be deducted. (Techs = $2000)

Ultimately, the "right thing" was accomplished for the employee and the Company. The downgrade was affected with a loss in annual salary of only $2000. The employee was ecstatic with that result since it preserved the bulk of his salary along with not subjecting him to the identification for layoff. [BR]

Working Together To Make A Difference!

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Laid off employee receives 2-month reprieve!

Recently, a member contacted SPEEA to find out why he had not received his 14-day layoff notice. The matter was referred to an Everett Contract Administrator. The CA was confused when he checked the company-provided WARN list, because the employee's name was not listed as having a layoff notice.

The CA contacted the HR rep who confirmed that the employee did not show up as having a WARN. However, once the corporate Workforce representatives were contacted, the CA learned that the employee was indeed slated for layoff that Friday (the CA received the call on the Monday prior to the layoff date).

Time was crucial. The CA explained to the Company that the WARN Act specifically requires that "the representative of the affected employee" receive the notice. SPEEA received no such notice, and therefore the one issued the employee was invalid.

The Company learned that the member had been mistakenly listed as a non-represented employee. The CA acknowledged that the explanation made sense; however, it did not change the fact that the WARN notice issued was invalid. The Company agreed and opted to re-issue a new WARN on the next issue date.

Had the member not contacted SPEEA, he might well have "slipped through the cracks." SPEEA does not receive info about employees outside of the bargaining unit who are targeted for layoff. So, until he had been laid off, there would have been no way for SPEEA to catch the mistake.

Thanks to this member's inquiry, SPEEA will now review all layoffs since last December to determine if any other employees were laid off without SPEEA being notified.

Although the member will still be laid off, raising his question resulted in two additional months of employment. We are grateful to the Company reps for responding quickly on this issue. The matter was resolved within 48 hours! [MM]

SPEEA Makes A Difference!

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Wichita Credit Union - SSN's

This is from the Boeing-Wichita Credit Union, in response to a note from one of our Wichita members: "The system is now set up to designate a random number for your account, we will still need to have your SSN to report to the IRS for interest earned. As of now all new accounts are issued random numbers, eventually we will change all BWCU accounts to random numbers as well. Our members have the choice to come in and change their account numbers to random numbers as well if the account is under the SSN."


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er the SSN."


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