May 31, 2002 Newsletter #1883
We recently received a disturbing phone call from a SPEEA member we'll call Joe. Joe returned from vacation, reviewed his bank deposits, and discovered that Boeing had overpaid him on a recent paycheck. Joe contacted The Boeing Company to inform them of the mistake. The person on the other end of the phone thanked him for his honesty and said that she would take care of the situation. Joe then asked if the ensuing paycheck would reflect the deduction. Payroll replied that they would remove the money directly from Joe's account. Joe was too stunned to ask more, hung up the phone, thought about the situation and then contacted our office.
We decided to call BECU to see how it is that an employer can withdraw funds from a member's account. What we learned may shock many and should serve as notice for those concerned about protecting their assets.
Anyone with automatic deposit is also enabling automatic withdrawals. Any entity, employer or otherwise who is automatically depositing money into members' accounts may withdraw funds by stating to the Credit Union that an overpayment has been made. Furthermore, there is no firm time limit in which the depositor can do this; and, the Credit Union is held harmless by the transaction. The depositor assumes all liability.
So, remember that by saving the step of actually depositing a physical check, you are granting access to anyone who is given auto-deposit rights in your account. [RP]
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SPEEA, serving members through education
SPEEA Contract Administrators recently met with the Company representatives regarding the rising use of the Puget Sound Attendance Guidelines in the administration of discipline for those employees we represent. SPEEA has steadfastly maintained (as far back as 1996) that the parties have never negotiated the specifics of those arbitrary guidelines and they should not be utilized in the administration of attendance discipline for our membership.
The Company also acknowledged having met several times with SPEEA in the previous six years regarding the Puget Sound Attendance Guidelines and, similar to SPEEA, recognized that this document was not developed nor implemented for the employees we represent. Upon receiving this latest notification by the Union, a concerted effort was made by the Employer to ensure that their discipline focals had knowledge of this long-term understanding. Instead of referencing the Puget Sound Attendance Guidelines in any potential attendance discipline, it was recommended to replace that reference with "management's concern for good attendance".
SPEEA, like Boeing, supports the notion that good attendance is a positive and desirable attribute for all employees at The Boeing Company. Both parties believe that the principles of progressive discipline should be applied when there are attendance concerns within the SPEEA-represented bargaining units. We are equally convinced that the standards of just cause will provide the necessary framework to ensure fairness in any attendance discipline. [BR]
SPEEA Works for You!
Had a fascinating discussion last week.
We had a joint meeting with some Boeing representatives and the discussion turned to the future vision for Boeing. Today, Boeing is touting "going global" as a great thing that will give Boeing the best products, best market access (including total market share) and best shareholder return and great stock price growth. We asserted that employees had a different view. Our view is that globalization may actually be code for slash jobs, wages and benefits and put the long-term health of Boeing at risk.
We mentioned that if you put before an employee the question, "We are changing Boeing. Boeing will be stronger, create better products, increased productivity will increase our profits and share price and employment will eventually stabilize, Boeing's leaders support it, are you with me?"
The answer could be quite literally, "I don't know." In fact an employee today doesn't know if they would "be with Boeing" or not. Today, globalization from an employee perspective looks a lot like a mechanism to off-load work and many jobs.
We offered up some adjustments to the lead-in for the question. We'd make the question, "We will jointly design a new Boeing in a way that makes sense to all of us. Boeing will be stronger, create better products, increased productivity will increase our profits, share price, and employee wages and benefits. Boeing will provide employment security - no one will be thrown out of Boeing if they want to stay and employment will eventually stabilize, Boeing's leaders support it, are you with me?"
The key elements added are what is actually developed makes sense from an employee perspective (jointly developed), a sharing of the generated profits (increased employee wages and benefits), and removing the threat that globalization today presents to employees (job security).
An immediate (and honest) response from a Boeing representative was, "This seems a lot like an entitlement mentality." We replied that it also could be viewed as a partnership and an investment.
Candidly, today many people are very skeptical about Boeing's direction and the impact it will have on both Boeing and themselves. This creates a great barrier to moving forward. People naturally resist changes that don't make sense. If they think changes are designed to lower their wages and benefits and possibly eliminate their job completely, they will naturally resist with even greater effort.
Think of the great achievements possible if all employees shared a compelling vision for Boeing one that made sense and had benefits for all. We would be unstoppable. To guarantee wages, hours and a job would help employees turn the corner from resistance to enthusiasm. Only a contract can guarantee these things. The good news is that we have three negotiations coming up. Too often companies view contract provisions as costs. If the contract is viewed as an investment in the only resource that is critical to Boeing's success the people, then real strides are possible.
SPEEA is committed to holding employees' views and interests as our top priority. We are committed to finding a way to survive and thrive in a changing world in ways that make sense to our members and other stakeholders. We view the upcoming contract not as a list of entitlements, but rather as a chance for Boeing to commit to an investment in their people.
A SPEEA member contacted our office questioning the amount of money that was being planned to accompany his recent promotion. The manager initially suggested a $5,100 raise. SPEEA Staff reviewed the available data and recommended a more appropriate increase was about $3,000 higher.
The member went back and shared this data with his boss. The raise was reconsidered and the member recently sent a thank-you note to SPEEA reporting: "Wanted to let you know my Level 4 upgrade came through today along with a $7,100 salary increase. Thanks for your quick response to my email and for your support on this issue. Your comments and data were encouraging. Although the approved amount was $1,000 below what you recommended, it was in fact $2,000 higher than the original proposal for which I have to thank you personally! You took the time to look at the data and provide me some expert guidance and advice, which I believe was fully considered by the skill team. I did let my manager know that SPEEA recommended the higher figure based on facts and data." [DG]
SPEEA Makes a Difference!
When a member becomes a Council Representative (CR), SPEEA immediately puts that individual through a full-day of comprehensive training on the duties and responsibilities of being a Union representative. When the CRs return to the workplace, their variety of skills increase due to the representation activities they engage in on-the-job. To brief the CRs on changing laws, processes or contractual language, SPEEA conducts periodic training to help ensure that the membership has the best on-site representation possible. We are very proud of the successful resolutions derived from the initial representation handled by the CRs.
In the 40-87 building in Everett, we are fortunate to have a multitude of CRs for the nearly 2000 members residing there. Council Reps who reside in districts that have multiple representatives have the luxury of not being required to handle every type of case that arises in their workplace. They tend to develop their own specialties in the types of representation and, once their colleagues know it, specific types of cases become forwarded to the individual CRs.
Bill Sutton has been a CR in the 40-87 for the last three years. Bill has become very adept on reclassification issues for our membership. He works well with the individual employee in developing the necessary documentation and he has an outstanding ability to interface between the employee and the supervisor in order to bring about potential resolution. Even the cases where he hasn't been successful on the first step, the Contract Administrators were handed reclassification packages that typically provide success at later stages in the grievance process.
John Lynn, a CR for just over a year, has developed a reputation for being a pit-bull during investigatory and disciplinary meetings. He has studied the standards of just cause intently and is very thorough and tenacious in the early stages of potential discipline. If and when an employee that John represented early in the process does receive discipline, it was either deserved or it will be overturned later in the grievance process.
Kurt "Cool Hand Luke" Schuetz also has been a CR at this site for just over a year. Kurt's calm and cool demeanor is a tremendous asset for the member during either a security or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigation. He has developed a good sense for understanding the issues at hand and providing valuable counsel to the employees being subjected to the investigation.
Contract Administrators cannot be at all places at all times. We are totally reliant on these CRs to handle issues in the workplace first and to provide effective feedback in the event the issues need to be forwarded to a higher level. SPEEA is proud of this high quality of representation our members receive at all levels within the institution. [BR]
SPEEA Works for You!
In the summer of 2000, a Technical Unit employee who was off work due to a Worker's Compensation injury was terminated by the Company for not having the proper work credentials pursuant to the requirements of the Immigration Naturalization Service (INS). SPEEA immediately filed a grievance on behalf of the employee because of notification requirements contained in the Company's procedures and the atypical delays experi- enced with INS. Both the Company and the Union agreed to hold the grievance in abeyance while the employee sought the necessary credentials.
Meanwhile, waiting for the necessary activities to occur, the terror of 9/11/01 occurred and we've seen the massive layoffs of the last six months. Just within the last month, this employee would have suffered a layoff based on his previous job code, level and retention. Absent the employee's physical ability and the INS procedural ability to return to work, the Employer forwarded a grievance denial for this employee.
Typically, we only report "success stories" within the Union's publications. However, cases as the one described above are time consuming from a staff perspective but they are still mandated by our obligation to provide representation for our membership. We win some, we can't win them all but SPEEA DOES work for you! [BR]
This is the
first of a series of Newsletter articles reporting on the results from
the second negotiation survey.
The first SPEEA negotiations survey was in the September 2001 SPOTLITE. It asked respondents to identify issues on which they thought the team ought to focus. Over 600 SPEEA-represented employees took the time to complete and return the survey and we reported the results in a series of Newsletters earlier this year.
This second negotiations survey, also created by the Negotiations Preparation Committee, was a web-based survey. It was posted on the SPEEA web site and available for employee input during the month of March. Over 3700 SPEEA-represented employees submitted their survey responses.
The response to this second survey from the North- west bargaining units was about 20%. The Wichita Engineers Unit response was lower, at about 11%. While input from both members and nonmembers was solicited, member response was considerably greater. The higher percentage of membership in the Northwest bargaining units in combination with the higher response rate among members contributed to the higher overall response rate from the Northwest bargaining units.
Those who responded to the survey were a good representation of the entire bargaining units. By grade, age, company service and organization, the respondents matched closely to the overall bargaining units.
The strong desire to retain the current level of medical benefits was evident in the first benefits question. Well over 80% in each bargaining unit selected "I would just as soon not see any change to my healthcare coverage" among three possible healthcare responses.
The desire to retain current benefits was further evidenced in benefits question eleven. Again, over 80% (varied between 79% and 87% by bargaining unit) favored retaining for future employees the early retiree medical benefits received by current employees.
As to benefit changes, in benefits question ten, swapping the current annual FSP contribution (up to 40 hours of pay) for increased Company matching of employee VIP contributions was overwhelmingly favored by all of the bargaining units (varying between 72% to 81% by bargaining unit).
The short-term disability
program was an area in which employees strongly sought improvements.
Over 70% (varied between 66% and 81% by bargaining unit) considered
it moderately or very important that the current short-term disability
program (currently $58 per week) be improved to the same level as currently
provided non-represented salaried employees.
If you have additional input for upcoming Puget Sound negotiations, send it to:
Retiring or changing jobs? Do you know what to do with your pension and VIP/FSP distribution?
Kevin Cahoon, Associate Vice President, Retirement Planning Specialist, and Andrew Hergert, Financial Advisor, of Morgan Stanley will be presenting these free seminars for people about to retire that are considering a lump-sum distribution or rollover from their VIP/FSP and asking themselves:
Do I have enough money to retire? What taxes and IRS penalties can be imposed on my lump-sum distribution? What are appropriate long-term strategies for my lump-sum or rollover that will best achieve my goals? If you are close to retirement and don't have answers to these questions, take an hour of your day to attend.
SPEEA members and spouses
are invited although space is limited. Box lunches will be provided
for all attendees. To reserve your space, request a box lunch, and obtain
the room number, call Andrew Hergert at (206)224-4203 or
Do you have a will? Is it
current? Learn how to exercise your "will power", to write the only
contract that will provide for your family upon your death. United Way
Snohomish County invites SPEEA members to a free "no obligation" seminar
on the basics of writing a will and preparing your estate plan. Seminar
participants take home a free resource packet to begin their estate
planning, a surprisingly empowering task.
June 20, 2002
A panel of professionals (attorney, CPA, financial planner & trust officer) will review why you need a will, what's in your estate, strategic planning to preserve your assets, and how to leave a legacy to your community. Don't leave guardianship and financial decisions to an anonymous administrator. Start your "will power" planning today with a call to Susanne at (425) 355-2883 to reserve your seat for this valuable seminar. (Light snacks will be provided)
By Mark Moshay, SPEEA Contract Administrator
When you mention SPEEA, most people think of the labor union representing thousands of professional and technical employees working for Boeing. But, there are a handful of individuals who also see SPEEA in a different light - as their employer.
My second anniversary as an employee of SPEEA was May 7, 2002. With the exception of my four years in the US Navy, labor unions have been a part of my entire working life. I have been a member, a President (of IFPTE Local 6, representing a unit of technical employees at the Shipyard), and now work for one.
The SPEEA strike caught my attention. Within the federal sector of IFPTE, I sent emails to other locals, encouraged donations and even came over from Bremerton to the picket lines on President's Day in 2000. Soon after, I applied and was hired as a Contract Administrator at the SPEEA Everett Office.
My two years at SPEEA include many great experiences. Two that come to mind are the following:
We helped a member who had been paying an extremely high "out-of-pocket" price for prescription medicine for her infant daughter to get the medicine at a savings of nearly $2,000 per year for her family.
Another employee facing layoff, had his retention appeal approved literally hours before his scheduled layoff. His layoff was cancelled.
In short, it is great to be part of an organization that helps people in meaningful ways.
SPEEA practices what it preaches. I really appreciate how SPEEA treats their own employees (me and my fellow staffers) as they push Boeing to treat Boeing employees (you) better. As a SPEEA employee, I am covered by a collective bargaining agreement. All staff members receive exemplary treatment including working conditions and pay.
I want to thank members, Council Reps, elected Officers, the Executive Director and my fellow SPEEA staffers for allowing and helping me become part of the SPEEA team these past two years. When I wake up each morning it is very easy to go to work.
SPEEA is a great union and a great employer!
The third Boeing Technical Excellence Conference will be held in St. Louis from July 31 to August 2. The theme is Growing The Business Through Technology. Technical presentations and posters will be presented in the following areas: Affordability, Lean Enterprise, Assembly Technologies, Aging Aircraft Components and Systems, Uninhabited Systems, Aligning Business and Technology, Breakthrough Technologies, Fellowship Utilization, Open Architecture Systems, Next-Generation Vehicles and Systems, Globalizing Industrial Participation, and Hypersonics.
The conference is open to all Boeing employees who are U.S. citizens or U.S. persons. However, you must be registered to attend. Registration information is on the Technical Excellence Web site at
On May 17, 2002, 60-day notices of layoff (for layoff effective July 19, 2002) were issued to 322 SPEEA-represented employees, broken down as follows:
Details of layoff notices
by job-code and major org are available on the SPEEA web site at:
WEU Negotiation Survey summary
In this first in a series of articles to present the SPEEA WEU Negotiations Survey details are highlights of the Compensation and Pay Practices responses from Wichita engineers.
A strong majority of respondents surveyed indicated that guaranteed wage increases (GWI) were important and should be included in the coming negotiations
Of the totem pool amount, the engineers indicated that approximately 45% should be GWI and 55% should be selective.
Only one-third of respondents stated that Boeing engineers are paid at a level equal to engineers of the same skill in the national market.
Approximately two-thirds say that more objective guidelines are needed to accurately assess performance during salary totem-ranking exercises
Participation in the EIP (Employee
Pay Practices Issues
Paid off-hour travel for SPEEA- represented employees was supported by three quarters of respondents.
Over three-quarters of respondents agree that employees should be compensated for their time while on call. On-call duty is required for one-third of respondents, either on a regular basis or occasionally as circumstances require.
The survey data summarized above highlights the underlying feelings of SPEEA-represented employees in the Wichita Engineering Unit (WEU) that we are underpaid with respect to our peers in the national market. This issue is further supported by over half of the engineers responding to the survey ranking an increase in the base amount of funds available for salary increases as one of the top issues in this fall's WEU contract negotiations. Respondents have also expressed their opinions that The Boeing Company should step up to the plate and accurately assess engineers against objective guidelines and pay them accordingly.
Your WEU negotiation team encourages you to get involved and have your voice heard. The best way to do this is to approach a nonmember today and request that they become a SPEEA member and have the opportunity to vote on our contract this fall. If you have questions about this article, please contact Lacey Jilek at the SPEEA-Wichita office, (316) 682-0262 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This data represents the engineers' response to the on-line survey that was conducted by SPEEA during the month of March. Be sure to look for more information during the coming weeks in future Newsletters. If you have additional input for upcoming WEU negotiations, please send it to:
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