May 17, 2002 Newsletter #1881
Did you know that SPEEA offers a full line of apparel? We have polo shirts, hats, fleece vests, jackets, sweatshirts, and windshirts in a variety of colors, with the SPEEA logo embroidered on each. If you'd like to check out what's available, and/or purchase on line, go to http://www.speea.progear.com
As we approach contract negotiations, SPEEA-represented employees are asking questions about retirement planning. This is a good time to review some of the factors that should be considered when planning for retirement.
Q) If I am laid off, then retire next year, will my benefit be determined by the new contract or the old one?
A) Terms and conditions for retirement are those in effect at the time you retire, not the time you are laid off. However, in our current contract, some terms had an effective date in July 2000, so the "new" terms did not begin to apply until several months after the contract settlement. Once you retire, your benefit is protected by law, and cannot be reduced except under extreme circumstances. On the other hand, improvements in subsequent contracts will not apply to your benefit unless the new terms specifically provide for past retirees (or is retroactive). Finally, we should bear in mind that early retiree medical is not protected by law. Our terms and conditions for early retiree medical are determined in collective bargaining. Certainly, retirement and medical benefits are top priorities in both SPEEA and IAM negotiations.
Q) Should I wait to retire under the new contract?
A) Retirement is a serious personal decision. Normally, employees consider the interests of their families and the advice of financial planners when making this decision. For most people, the important points include personal health, satisfaction or accomplishment from their work, the value they would place on free time in retirement, possibly taking a part-time job or starting a business, among other factors.
In terms of timing of the retirement date, people talk about various trade-offs. One trade-off is free time with retirement income compared to staying at work and earning a salary. Another trade-off is the expectation of somewhat higher retirement income in the future in exchange for delaying the retirement date. In the past, the most significant retirement improvements, from one contract to the next, have been in the standard benefit formula. This went from $40 to $50 per month for each year of credited service, in the current contract. However, if you retire under the alternate benefit, the $10 improvement would not apply to your case. Instead, the alternate benefit increases steadily through added years of service and increasing Final Average Earnings.
Some employees are watching the IAM negotiations (contract expires 9/1/02), as an indicator of what our retirement settlement will look like. SPEEA and IAM populations share the same retirement plan, and are likely to have similar terms.
Employees also consider year-end factors such as holiday pay and the annual increase in "covered compensation" for the alternate formula. These issues are discussed in the "Archive" section of the SPEEA web site. [SS]
SPEEA is a very democratic organization. This means that the will of the membership drives everything we do. Sometimes an individual, or even the entire organization, gets out of sync with what the membership desires. When that happens the membership (and their representatives) help both the individual and the organization to get back on the right track. SPEEA is "self-correcting."
Boeing's globalization is a big issue today. Recently our President Tom Day declared that he and a small group had developed a plan to address Boeing's globalization and that he was going to make a presentation to Alan Mulally. The Council extracted Tom's promise to present his pitch to the Council before showing it to Alan. Tom gave the same promise to the Executive Board and both Puget Sound Negotiation Teams. However, at our last Council meeting Tom presented the pitch that his group presented to Alan two days before. The group consisted of our President and Treasurer (Mike Dunn), four SPEEA members, one Beck Objector and two people not in a SPEEA bargaining unit. The essence of the plan was to break Boeing into small parts that would each employ both "lean" and "theory of constraints" practices to expand their business base and profits - in essence, convert Boeing into a number of stand-alone companies to increase flexibility and performance. The plan was modeled after practices of ABB - a European "GE".
Needless to say, the Council responded in very strong terms; "self-correcting" began immediately. Additionally, globalization and job transfer are top negotiation issues and the negotiation teams have taken action to ensure that the Company is fully aware of SPEEA's internal processes and authorities to work negotiation issues.
SPEEA continues to develop a plan to address globalization and outsourcing. The short version is that the push for outsourcing still doesn't make sense to us. We have questions and reasonable objections.
The goals for the SPEEA plan is to protect the interests of SPEEA-represented employees and ensure that our members' perspectives are fully understood and effectively engaged in the decision-making process that affects our jobs and our careers. The goal is to protect our members' interests. It is NOT to help Boeing outsource our jobs.
We have published the outline of a process to do this in the Newsletter. Staff member Stan Sorscher has held numerous lunchtime meetings on outsourcing and gathered a lot of data from members. Stan and I have been working with people in the AFL-CIO and stock analysts to advocate SPEEA members' perspective. The negotiation team will work globalization and outsourcing issues for the 2002 contract. Their thoughts and our members' input will drive the agenda. Stan Sorscher has drafted a twelve-page position paper that the negotiation teams will review and attempt to distill down to a single page. A presentation will be made at our convention in early June. We are on track to protect our members' interests.
This brings us back to the fact that SPEEA is self-correcting. We are. The desires of our members HAVE and WILL drive SPEEA's actions. Sometimes we have to go through a couple of cycles but, in the end, because we are self-correcting, we end up on the right track.
The Employee Recycling
Program is a Washington
Since 1974, with your help, the Employees Recycling Program has raised over one million dollars for people with disabilities in the State of Washington. The equipment and uniforms provided by the program have helped thousands of disabled athletes from over a hundred teams that train and compete in athletic competition at the local, regional and state levels.
All that is accomplished with
ZERO administrative costs. 100% of the money the program receives is distributed
to people with disabilities in
You can help by recycling newspapers and aluminum cans in the appropriate receptacles in your building.
Volunteers are also needed to help take the bags from full boxes and move them out of the building to tub skids set up outside (especially at PLANT II, RENTON & KENT). If you are interested, please call (253) 657-9818, or (253) 931-2217. For info http://www.employee-recycling.org
The SPEEA Women's Advocacy Committee (WAC) sponsored its sixth annual "Women on the Move at Boeing" forum on Thursday, April 25, 2002 at the Doubletree Hotel in Bellevue. About 70 were in attendance, and for the sixth year in a row, it was a grand success!
WAC member Pamela McDowell opened the event, introducing special guests who were in attendance including Patty Wentz (Boeing Women in Leadership) and Helen Lowe (IAM Women's Committee).
Special thanks was given to Janis Tullis for providing her updated "Women in Labor" display boards for the sixth year in a row.
WAC Chair Peg Curtin served as mistress of ceremonies, introducing each of the speakers. The agenda allowed each speaker to give some background about herself, talk about how she progressed into her current positions - taking advantage of "Opportunities in Change" - provide some lessons learned, and answer questions.
Barbara is a Seattle native who attended the University of Washington and received her B.S. in Mathematics in 1979. She came to work for Boeing as a software design engineer in BCA 757/767 CAD/CAM computing. Over her career at Boeing, she has worked on several Boeing Military Airplane programs, moving into management in 1991. She was appointed Director on the Joint Strike Fighter in 1996, and moved into her current position last year.
Outside of Boeing, she participated in a Junior Achievement program at the local middle school, served as one of Boeing's United Way Loaned Executives (in 1990), and has been part of the Military & Space mentor program for the last five years. For the past ten years, she has been involved in the American Association of University Women. This year, she chaired their Expanding Youth Horizons conference that fosters math and science achievement for young girls. She said chairing the event was an experience. A mentor once told her: "If you can manage volunteers, you can manage anything!"
Her career has evolved around her tendency to be a "problem-solver". She says she can't say no to a challenge ... and she continues to try to take advice. One change in her career (as a director on the JSF program) turned out to be her most traumatic as well as the most rewarding point in her career. She built a team, creating trust and respect. They learned through hard knocks, working their way through significant technical challenges. Barbara said through the experience, she became much more emotionally resilient, and also became a stronger person. During the same period, she went back to school to earn her MBA.
Barbara said the toughest experiences
are where you change and grow the most. Change is everywhere, you can't
avoid it. She said one of the most valuable things she learned was to
speak up for herself, have open and honest communication. She has an open
door policy for her staff and co-workers. As we go through inevitable
change, she said, we can help each other have an excellent chance of achieving
our greatest potential. Even if you think you're behind in experience,
don't let that stop you from taking on a challenge.
Also a native Washingtonian, Jennifer earned her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from UW in 1985. She started working for Boeing as a Propulsion Engineer in Boeing Military Aircraft. She has worked developmental programs in both Boeing Commercial and Military Airplanes. She was appointed Propulsion Aerodynamics Manager in BCA's Product Development group last September.
Jennifer said she always felt quite strongly about sharing and encouraging women to get into science and engineering. She seized on an early opportunity to go to England and work in Boeing's Supplier Management with Rolls Royce. She also took advantage of other opportunities to change job assignments (many she hadn't previously considered), and she feels that has helped with her career growth. She learned early on to speak up and be more proactive. She learned not to be intimidated by anyone, noting you should be as comfortable talking to the director down the hall, the VP, or your peers. She has made contacts in a wide variety of locations within the Company, and built up her confidence & experience with each assignment. She said her initial reaction to many of the assignments was real uncertainty. But, as her mother always told her: "If you turn away opportunities that come along, there might not be a next time."
Jennifer noted Boeing has come a long way in how it deals with People issues. In the past, you heard horror stories about negative experiences with management - but that is no longer acceptable in the new culture emerging in this Company. She said she's impressed with the fairness and integrity of co-managers as they perform retention and toteming exercises.
She said, one of the hardest things she had to learn was: "You need to manage your own career." Staying in a bad situation will not result in anything positive. If you see something else out there you'd like to pursue, go for it! It's good to have mentors, but in the end you must do it for yourself. If it doesn't work out, you can move to something else just around the corner.
Sonja grew up in Minneapolis, becoming interested in math & science in high school. She earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1984. After graduating, she worked for 3M Company in Minneapolis for four years, where she says she had a "crummy boss". She said 3M is a great company, innovative, state-of-the-art, flexible work schedules, lots of perks - but she decided to seek a change. She married an aeronautical engineer (Eric Johnson) and in 1988 they both came to work at Boeing in Seattle.
Sonja began as an Interiors Technology Engineer in Manufacturing Research & Development (MR&D), where she has worked ever since. She became a manager in 1997, and currently manages MR&D's Everett 747 Body Structures and Tool Services Support.
Sonja said she took advantage of lots of on- and off-hour classes, and had lots of opportunity for leadership development. She began working in factory support, and she went through the EXPO (leadership development) program. She took five months off while she had her first baby. It was a difficult decision to return to work, but even more difficult was finding good day care. She said the Boeing Family Center (which SPEEA's Women's Committee helped achieve) is the best thing Boeing ever did!
She came back to work, first part-time but later full-time. She said she'd like to see a cultural change to the attitude expressed toward part-time employees (who are often viewed as second-class citizens). She took another 8 month leave to have her second baby. But she said she had a written transition plan. She communicated her plan for leaving and returning with her supervisor, and she kept in contact with him throughout her leave.
It's important to look out for yourself, she notes. Ask yourself if you are happy in your current job? Or are you ready for a change? If so, make that change. You'll have fewer regrets the sooner you do it. Give yourself credit for your life experiences prior to coming to Boeing, even if it was being at home raising your kids. Ask questions ... find your niche ... try out assignments outside your confidence zone ... try cross-functional or special assignments ... shadow somebody, volunteer for a team. Figure out a way to share with your co-workers "what's in it for them."
Also, find a balance between work and home. Use your time wisely, and just say "no". Learn how to delegate ... have a cell phone for emergencies and hire a housekeeper ... be ready for the unexpected; when kids get sick, get a laptop and gold card to work from home. Have a support system with lots of backups. One of the hardest things to do in life, said Sonja, is helping people to get along, share information, be open and talk to each other. We all need to work on that.
The final panelist has chosen to remain in the Technical career path at Boeing. Julia Miller grew up in Ohio where she graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture. She heard Boeing was hiring and landed a job as a Drafter in the 767 Primary Flight Controls group in December 1978. She said her first three weeks were spent in Central Engineering in Everett. Then she transferred to her first design group in Renton where she shared a drafting table and had to find her own stool to sit on. She was surrounded by "lots of men in white shirts and ties".
Julia said she was lucky to start early in the design phase of the project, working with experienced engineers and techs some of whom became her mentors. She worked with a Tech Designer Level 7 and decided that was her goal. She got married and went on a short maternity leave to have her daughter. When she came back, she was placed in another group - cargo handling. She then voluntarily transferred into the Environmental Control Systems group 13 years ago. In 1993, she was promoted to Tech Designer (precursor to the Technical Principal program). She went through the process of being nominated by her supervisor, reviewed by the skill team, and approved by the Technical Review Board.
In the last seven years, Julia has been fortunate to work on several new design projects, the last two years on 777. She said one of the things that helped her early on was setting a goal and discussing it with her supervisors. Changing groups a few times gave her broader experience; it took patience to work up level by level. She took advantage of classes being offered, and asked for training. She said just this week she moved into a new position in ECS. She took a risk, but thinks it will work well for her, providing new challenges. She said she's learned to stand up for herself; but she has also learned to choose her battles. She believes she has been treated fairly.
Julia believes in life-long learning, and she tries to mentor new drafters and engineers in an attempt to improve processes. She says exercise is essential; she doesn't work through her lunches, and she tries to get enough sleep. Following her creative interests, from an early age Julia took every art class she could. She enjoys "doing it, seeing it, and reading about it." She served on the Lake Stevens Art Commission. With the pressures of change and downsizing at Boeing, she encourages developing your life outside your job. She said she realizes her job could change dramatically, or no longer exist. She is starting to create mosaic art.
Following their presentations, the panelists fielded a number of questions on such topics as: Are there many opportunities at Boeing now, with all the downsizing? What helped you govern your own career? What are the key skills for furthering your career? How do you select a mentor? Why did we lose JSF? How can we improve the leave package for new mothers? How many women are involved in meetings where technical decisions are made? Is there age discrimination taking place within Boeing? How do you get experienced co-workers to teach you what you need to learn? Are you participating in Company mentor programs?
A random drawing was held with
the following door prize winners:
Participants commented: "Informative! A great way to share experiences!" ... "I liked the informal setting and enjoyed the speakers very much. I thought they represented a wide background. Good food, drinks and venue." ... "It was wonderful! I spent this afternoon at a luncheon that paid $10K for a wonderful speaker; however, these speakers were just as good!" ... It was good to get perspectives from women in different fields and in different phases of their career (and lives)." ... I thoroughly enjoyed and gained insights as well as confidence from tonight's speakers" ... "Very good - well organized, good topic, plenty of time for questions - looking forward to next year!"
During the month of January, a member came into the SPEEA office perplexed by his immediate situation. The employee had just received a WARN notice for a March layoff. Being of retirement age, his dilemma was that he was merely a minute fraction short of being qualified for early retirement and early retiree medical. The employee sat down with his Contract Administrator (CA) and they jointly calculated the approximate date he needed to be retained on the payroll to satisfy the eligibility.
Armed with that information, the initial strategy was for the employee to provide that information to the skill team for consideration. Much to their credit, they extended the employee's layoff effective date just beyond the date calculated by the CA. Upon nearing that date, the employee received confirmation of both the credited and vested service amounts substantiating his eligibility for early retirement. Simultaneous to that, he received an email from a pension representative that specified that he wouldn't be eligible for early retiree medical for an additional two months.
The Contract Administrator quickly gathered the original documentation from pension, the erroneous email, and the applicable portions of the summary plan document (specifically the definitions for credited service and early retiree medical eligibility). He faxed this information to the employee's HR person with a request to forward it to the appropriate person in the pension office for clarification.
Sure enough, an apology accompanied the correct information as it was provided back to the employee. The pension office also acknowledged HR for the diligence and detail that allowed the mistake to be corrected. The bottom line was that we got the necessary documentation to transition this employee from involuntary layoff to early retirement. [BR]
SPEEA Truly Made A Difference!
The SPEEA Everett office received a nice Thank You note from the Snohomish County Labor Council for a recent appearance at an informational picket held in front of the Group Health facilities in Everett on Tuesday, May 7, 2002. The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Locals 8 and 23 have been in difficult contract negotiations since January of 2002. This contract affects nearly 1500 office employees ranging from Patient Care Representatives, Medical Records Assistants, Referral Service Representatives, Office Assistants, Billing and Claims Representatives and many other proud Group Health employees.
OPEIU asserts that their members assisted Group Health during previous difficult financial times by taking a wage "cut and freeze". Since Group Health is now in a good financial position, the belief is that management should support its staff by agreeing to a fair and equitable contract. The Union alleges that Group Health is taking a position presently, which presumably threatens job security and discourages any sort of recruitment or retaining of qualified staff because of a substandard wage scale.
The note to SPEEA was as follows:
"Thanks to those that helped with the picketing yesterday at Group Health in Everett. We had representatives from Ironworkers, SPEEA and UFCW 1001. You can see pictures of the event by going to the http://www.snolabor.org web site and scrolling down to where it says in blue, 'Members of Office & Professional Employees Local 8 Informational Picketing.' There is also a link to the State Labor Council's information on the picketing and bargaining issues at Group Health. Thanks to SPEEA for the pictures.
SPEEA members are proud to assist other working people in trying to create and maintain a better standard of living.
SPEEA is Making A Difference!
We have been working with the Company on the issue of Social Security numbers appearing on the printed paychecks being mailed to employees' homes. We requested that a masked version of the SSN (e.g., *** ** xxxx) be used instead of the whole number.
After review by the Company's legal department, they responded that California law (section 226 of the California State Code) requires a complete SSN to be printed on paychecks. Additionally, no states preclude the printing of an employee SSN on the paycheck. At this time, Boeing is choosing not to customize the printing of the checks based on the work location.
We will continue to push for increased protection against identity theft. In the meantime, when convenient, employees may want to consider direct deposit and e-stub to reduce printed confidential information.
Council Rep John Kampsen is hosting a lunchtime meeting for SPEEA members in Auburn:
Thursday, May 23, 2002
Negotiation Team members and staff will be attending to cover topics such as the layoff process and retirement. There will also be time for questions and answers.
Employees who were scheduled for layoff effective Friday, May 24, 2002 will receive payment for the May 27th Memorial Day Holiday. The layoff date will be revised to May 27, 2002.
Recently, Boeing-Wichita A&M listed some job openings for confidential jobs. These jobs had descriptions that were close to identical to commercial jobs with different titles. Some commercial employees with similar job descriptions had recently been given WARN notices and some were already laid off. SPEEA, monitoring the new job opportunities, contacted all the commercial employees with comparable job skills who had WARN notices or were laid off and made sure they applied to those new positions that had opened up in Boeing-Wichita A&M.
The Company could have recalled those employees from commercial with experience in those jobs, but they chose not to. SPEEA took it upon themselves to contact and advise all those with WARN notices or who were laid off about the open positions in Boeing-Wichita A&M.
SPEEA continues to monitor the hiring of contract employees at Boeing-Wichita. Recently, a contract employee was hired for an OA position in the Boeing-Wichita A&M organization. SPEEA went to the Company to question hiring a contract employee instead of recalling an OA who was recently laid off from commercial. After talking to the Company and determining the details of the job (a temporary position in Oklahoma), SPEEA was satisfied that the Company did not deny recently laid off OA's recall rights to a job in Boeing.
While this action did not result in a recall, SPEEA did investigate and continues to monitor contract hiring in Boeing-Wichita.
SPEEA has requested an Article 10 meeting to discuss recall rights for employees of Wichita BAS who were recently laid off.
According to Section 8.4(b) of the WTPU contract and Section 8.9(b) of the WEU contract, it is a mutual objective of the Company and the Union that laid off employees, who have not been determined ineligible, be recalled to active employment; and a mutual desire that such recall into the major organization be offered in approximate reverse order of layoff. But if a major organization has closed, employees who were laid off in that organization don't have an organization to be recalled to.
SPEEA has requested an Article 10 joint meeting to discuss getting laid-off BAS employees limited recall rights into the other major organizations in SPEEA. Draft letters are in work but have yet to be finalized.
The Wichita Engineering Unit (WEU) Negotiation Team has been reviewing the results from the web-based negotiation survey of WEU-represented employees conducted during March 2002. Individual reports for the topics of Benefits, Employee Relations, Workforce Administration and Compensation are being prepared for the SPEEA weekly newsletter. Our intent is to begin to communicate the understanding of the negotiation team about engineers' opinions from the survey responses.
Overall, the most important topics, in no particular order, are wages at or above market value, no reduction in health benefits, job security and pension plan improvements. Following is a look at each of these issues individually:
Other issues were brought up that are worthy of mention. Several mentioned that they believed the policy about threshold limits on NONIND and PERBUS should be separated since they are used for different charging purposes. Others raised concerns that asking for management permission to charge to NONIND for a partial day of sickness seemed unreasonable since "planning" for illness is not possible. Another popular issue concerned the redeployment of contractors to another job and skill code while direct employees are being released. Respondents wondered why contract employees can change skill codes at any time but direct employees have only two open windows for skill code changes each year.
Your Negotiation Team will continue to review the survey results as we prepare to enter into negotiations this fall. And we'll continue to communicate to the membership through the newsletter, the Spotlite, Negotiation Issue flyers, lunch-time meetings and an all-member meeting to occur this summer.
The 2002 Workforce Development Directory: A Valuable Resource for Programs and Services in Washington State is now available in PDF format online at http://www.wtb.wa.gov/publications.html
This publication identifies and describes workforce development programs and related services available to youth and adults in Washington State. Consistent with the Workforce Board's statutory role, it focuses upon education and training available as an alternative to earning a baccalaureate degree. These education and training opportunities prepare individuals for work in 75 percent of all jobs.
Please contact Patricia Spencer for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 586-8778.
SPEEA has arranged
for a discount on tickets to some Seattle Sounders (professional soccer)
games at Seattle Memorial Stadium. Regular prices are $15 for reserved
seats and $10 for general admission - SPEEA members pay $10 for reserved
seats, and $7 for general admission. The offer is good on the following
games; some games include a Seattle Sounders Women's Select game for the
June 22 - 7:00 p.m. - vs. Hampton Roads
6th -7:00 p.m. - vs. Indiana Blast
[NOTE: More games may be added later, so check our website for order form & info.]: