June 7, 2002 Newsletter #1884
by Tony Gaudette, Prof Unit
Negotiation Team member
Things are starting to heat up for the Puget Sound Prof and Tech negotiation teams. Since being elected in February, we have been meeting every other week to discuss our schedule development, review survey results, review Lunchtime Meeting feedback and hear Negotiation subcommittee progress reports.
On March 29, 2002 our teams attended a joint Boeing/SPEEA gathering to discuss Boeing Business Realities. While the information presented by Boeing management was consistent with previously provided data, it was clear to our teams that the upcoming negotiations will be complicated by the current business climate and Boeing's desire to "Globalize".
The five subcommittees (Workforce, Employee Relations, Benefits, Compensation, and Labor/Management) have started meeting on a regular basis. Where possible, the subcommittees (with full team approval) will try to come to agreement on contract language prior to the "Main Table" negotiations. As in past negotiations, we expect many areas of the contract will be agreed upon up-front.
The negotiation team members are continuously reviewing input from our members. This input comes from the SPOTLITE survey data, Online Survey data, Lunchtime Meeting feedback and individual member feedback. We will continue to have Lunchtime Meetings throughout the negotiation process to ensure we are properly representing our members while keeping them informed of our progress.
The 2002 Negotiation Kick Off (Meet and Greet) was held on June 4, 2002. This meeting provided us with an opportunity to meet all of the Boeing team members who will be participating in these negotiations.
On June 6, 2002, the SPEEA teams and the Boeing team participated in a joint training session with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The purpose of this training was to develop a teaming atmosphere such that we can use "interest based" bargaining to reach an acceptable contract offer.
In addition, the teams have requested the Council Representatives conduct a face-to-face survey of all members of the Puget Sound Bargaining Unit. We have developed a single page Survey form to gather additional data from all of our members. (Ask your Council Rep about this.)
The negotiation teams will develop the SPEEA contract proposal through the coming months. Our proposal will be presented to the general membership and then forwarded to the Company on September 3, 2002.
The "Main Table" negotiations are currently scheduled to occur from October 29 through November 12, 2002. Upon receipt, the negotiation teams will present Boeing's "Best and Final" offer to the Bargaining Unit Council Caucuses first, and then to the membership, with three possible recommendation scenarios: to accept, to reject or make no recommendation (worst case). The membership vote will occur between November 18 and December 1, 2002. The ballots will be counted on December 2, 2002.
As we approach negotiations this year, many people talk about SPEEA's strength. We talk about SPEEA's strength as if it is something we can roll out whenever we might need it.
SPEEA's strength does not stand alone; it is not in a specific place or within any individual or small group of people. SPEEA's strength is derived from the SPEEA membership acting as one. This does not mean that everyone thinks alike - we all know that is simply impossible for a group such as ours. However, it does mean that, whether we personally agree or not, we honor the will of the majority. It means that, if the majority makes a decision counter to the beliefs of someone who wants SPEEA to be strong, they support the majority decision. If they want to drain SPEEA's energy, they can claim a conspiracy and fight the majority in very open and vocal ways.
A good example of our strength was our historic strike. Just about everyone realizes that our strength came from great solidarity and unity on the strike line. However, most people forget that with about 60% membership and just over 50% of the engineering membership voting for strike, only 30% of the engineering population voted for the strike. However, over 90% of the engineering unit honored the strike line. The numbers for the Technical unit were a bit higher but still fewer than half of the population voted for strike. Can you imagine if, after the close vote to strike, a group of members put up a website that questioned the balloting, claimed that the strike vote was an AFL-CIO conspiracy and that the membership had been mislead? What would have been the impact on SPEEA's strength? Another source of strength was that all affected people had a good source of data and knew what was at stake.
Any individual who claims to have the power or the insight and ability to speak in place of the membership is wrong. Certainly a spokesperson can speak FOR the membership, but this is very different than speaking IN PLACE of the membership. This means that the membership's views must be sought out and learned before they can be represented. We do this with lunch meetings, surveys, a lot of email and one-on-one meetings. SPEEA's leaders should collect and reflect the member's perspectives and honor majority decisions.
SPEEA's strength is not the result of a one-man daredevil act; it comes from collective commitment to considered decision-making and then honoring the majority decision. To maximize SPEEA's strength, we need to find ways to openly and responsibly discuss our issues and then let the membership make informed decisions that we can all get behind.
Some will suggest that solidarity comes from ignoring big issues. I reject that notion. I believe that strength comes, not from running from big issues, but from addressing big issues with openness, integrity and principles and then letting the membership make important decisions that will allow SPEEA to move forward in the best possible ways.
This is a negotiation year - we'd better be ready to address big issues and learn to make tough decisions. SPEEA's strength comes from a fully informed and engaged membership making tough decisions that are then supported by the membership at large.
Two local community colleges
are seeking "Labor Representatives" to serve on their advisory boards.
Seattle Central Community
North Seattle Community
The Labor Rep serves along with college administrators, instructors and industry representatives. They discuss the curriculum, and the needs of the hiring/labor community to ensure compatibility. Having SPEEA-represented labor reps on these committees gives these schools the added expertise of your technical background. These boards generally meet once a quarter, in the evening at their campus.
HOW TO APPLY: If you have some knowledge in either of these areas, live or work close to the college, and are interested in applying to fill one of these spots - please email your name, work & home phone number, and statement of interest & qualifications to firstname.lastname@example.org. SPEEA's Executive Board will make the final appointment. For more information, contact Robbi at (206) 433-0995 x126.
It is very important for SPEEA and the leadership of BCA to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. By working together, the company and its employees can find alternative solutions to the problems currently being worked through layoffs and outsourcing. We are very fortunate to have as a leader a person who has a demonstrated track record of caring about the technical community and being responsive to feedback from individual employees. I am talking about Alan Mulally!
I have heard from many people who have written or e-mailed Alan with a concern or suggestion, that he often takes the time to reply, and that he takes action where he feels it is needed. For example, during the strike, one of our SPEEA members, Roger Cox, sent Alan information about the damaging effects that some of the company's tactics were having on the outcome of the dispute. Alan responded to Roger's e-mail and changed Boeing's approach to resolving the dispute. This is typical of Alan's genuine concern and respect for his employees.
Roger is a futurist by profession. He creates models that can predict plausible future outcomes of present conditions and trends. Seven years ago, Roger foresaw the conditions that currently beset us. He persuaded me of the importance of establishing a dialog with Alan Mulally so that, together, SPEEA and the company leadership can create a secure future for our children and us. Together we can make Boeing a strong, stable, and healthy company that provides opportunities for personal growth and advancement for all its employees.
This was the conviction that led me to request a meeting with Alan, and a small group of employees. I prepared a presentation designed to gauge Alan's interest in the development of a plan for working together to make Boeing one of the greatest companies in the world. We showed slides of basic concepts that we felt demonstrated that we knew what we were talking about, and then we asked Alan, "Do you want us to work with BCA employees to develop a plan?" Alan said he would like to personally participate in developing these plans and suggested a future meeting to look at what we came up with. It was explained to Alan, that we would be presenting this information to the SPEEA Council, and that they would be the first to consider development.
An unexpected outcome of the meeting was the very strong reaction from the SPEEA Council. Many felt that because the Council and the SPEEA Negotiation Teams had not approved our meeting with Alan, the information presented could have been potentially damaging to the upcoming negotiations. Anyone who reviews the material we showed must surely agree that this is far from the truth. There was also the misperception that I had promised to present the slides to the Council before meeting with Alan. It is true that I offered to give a preview, and I cleared that with the NW Council Chair some two weeks prior to the May SPEEA Council meeting. The item was not placed on the agenda. Another misconception was that we had presented Alan with a plan, but that is simply not the case. We asked Alan if he was interested in us developing a plan. After all, it would not be fair to ask people to spend their own time working on a plan that would not be considered.
Despite my public apology at the Council meeting, this misunderstanding has generated so much controversy that a motion to start recall proceedings against the treasurer, Michael J. Dunn, and me has been placed on the agenda for the next Council meeting. This, my friends, is a sad waste of the Council and membership energies.
I have led in good faith to improve the lives of SPEEA members. A strong relationship with Boeing leadership is a key cornerstone of my approach to improving SPEEA and The Boeing Company. This is a proven concept from both union and management textbooks. I have led by doing what is known to work.
More struggle, more hard feelings, between Boeing leadership and SPEEA are not the answer. Internal strife within the leadership of SPEEA is harmful to all of us. We claim to be professionals, all technical SPEEA people included. The cornerstone of professional behavior is the development of quality relationships with both like-minded colleagues and those that differ from us. Let's walk our talk and develop those key relationships with Boeing senior leadership. The outcomes can only be good.
I pledge to continue to work for you in the development of relationships and specific positive plans for SPEEA members. I also pledge to use this relationship to improve the outcomes from our negotiation teams and other working groups with Boeing. This can only improve the strengths of our Boeing Company and SPEEA.
The U.S. City Average all-items
Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners & clerical workers (CPI-W)
on a 1982-84=100 base for April 2002 is 175.8. (On a 1967=100
base, the April index is 523.7.) This is a 0.6% increase from one
month ago, and a 1.3% increase from a year ago.
Negotiation Survey - Part #2
The trade-off between guaranteed wage increases and selective increases showed one of the more pronounced differences by bargaining unit. The first question on compensation asked for the level of agreement with the statement that "Guaranteed wage increases are important because they protect against inflation." In the Technical Unit, 82% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement. For the Professional Unit, that level was only 61%. Wichita Engineers were in between, at 67%.
Those same ratios carried over to the third question in the section, "Guaranteed wage increases are NOT important to me." In the Technical Unit, only 12% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement. In the Professional Unit, the figure was 33%, the same 21% difference between the two units. The Wichita Engineers Unit came in at 28%, again in between but closer in opinion to the Professional Unit.
The response to question number four, in which survey respondents were asked to allocate the base rate increase funds between guaranteed and selective increases, continued the pattern. For each bargaining unit, there were individuals at each extreme (all guaranteed or all selective) and everywhere between. For the Technical Unit, the average response as to the percent of base rate funds allocated to guaranteed increases was 58% (e.g., given a 4% pool, a 58% allocation would be approximately 2.3% to guaranteed increases and the remaining 1.7% to selective increases). For the Professional Unit, the average guaranteed fund allocation was 42%. Again, the Wichita Engineering Unit was in between, with a 46% allocation to guaranteed increases.
The fifth question, "My pay is comparable to other people in my skill in the national market" revealed a regional difference. The Northwest bargaining units agreed or strongly agreed with this statement about 23% of the time (25% for the Technical Unit and 22% for the Professional Unit). Wichita engineers, however, agreed or strongly agreed with the statement about one-third of the time.
While there is support for our inclusion in the Employee Incentive Plan in lieu of a contract signing bonus, it isn't overwhelming. The eleventh question asked for agreement with the statement "Rather than receiving a contract signing bonus, I would rather be a participant in the Employee Incentive Plan (EIP)." Agreement or strong agreement varied from 45% in the Technical Unit to 56% in the Professional Unit. The Wichita Engineers continued their pattern of being in between the two Northwest units, at 49% agreement. Disagreement or strong disagreement varied between 33% and 24%.
Charts are available for viewing as PDF files, click here.
If you have additional input for upcoming Puget Sound negotiations, send it to: email@example.com
SPEEA helps make the right things happen
As a SPEEA WTPU member, I was covered under the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Traditional Medical Plan. Late last year, I elected to switch my medical coverage to HMO, which would become effective January 1, 2002. My wife had scheduled surgery on her foot on December 20, 2001, almost two weeks before our medical coverage switched to the HMO. I wanted to make sure that I covered all my bases and didn't lose any coverage because of the switch. So, I attended the brown-bag luncheon that Boeing provided to help us better understand what would take place, which was very informative. I also called my primary-care physician to make sure that a referral would not be needed for this procedure, of which he informed it would not be needed. I was also informed that since the surgery was being performed while still under BC/BS that all follow up care would be covered under BC/BS Global. From the information I received from the brown-bag luncheon and from my primary-care physician, I felt assured that everything was in order and there would be no lapse in coverage concerning my wife's surgery.
However, this was not the case. Everything that happened after the first of the year, when the medical coverage switch occurred, was in stark contrast to what I had been told initially. There were indeed problems with the coverage and I started receiving bills for parts of my wife's follow-up care. I appealed the decision to my HMO and I lost. I tried talking with the insurance company directly, but seemed to get nowhere. Not knowing what else to do or where else to turn, I contacted my WTPU Council Representative. After discussing the details with him, he put me in touch with one of our local SPEEA Contract Administrators, who then immediately contacted a Benefits Specialist at Boeing. After explaining the situation to her, she got us the right to a second appeal with the insurance company. My SPEEA Contract Administrator attended my second appeal hearing to help me further explain the case. The appeals board heard our case and in conclusion agreed that I had done my part to make sure everything was done and billed correctly. Ultimately, the fees for the services were written off.
Thank you, SPEEA, for making a difference in this matter!!
- Loyd Bishop
Second in the series of articles to present the SPEEA WEU Negotiations Survey details are highlights of the Employee Relations and Labor/Management responses from Wichita engineers.
The Employee Relations subcommittee is responsible for contract language that addresses general workplace conditions. Much of this language is contained in Letters of Understanding (LOU's) and related Company procedures. It covers topics such as Telecommuting, Health and Safety, Child and Elder Care, Corrective and Remedial Action, Suggestion System, Internet Access and 'Other' topics not covered by the other committees. These topics rarely appear on the 'top issues' list, but are important to maintain a safe and desirable work environment and a motivated workforce.
The Labor/Management subcommittee is responsible for contract articles dealing with Recognition, Rights of Management, Grievance Procedure and Arbitration, Joint Meetings, Union Officials, Union Security, Strikes and Lockouts, Separability, SPEEA/Boeing Ed Wells Initiative, Contract Duration and several attachments that cover the union and company working together. The subjects of Outsourcing and Globalization have also been assigned to this committee.
One out of ten responded that they have been turned down for an EWI event and gave lack of funds as the primary reason.
Moving the contract
expiration date to a non-winter month was given as a desire.
The survey data summarized above may not be on most of our 'top-issues' list but, we believe, do indicate the continuing need for better communications between union members and the Company regarding Employee Relations and Labor/Management topics. Your negotiation team believes improving communication to be an issue in this fall's contract negotiations between SPEEA and The Boeing Company.
Your 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 Joe Newberry or Burt Shah via firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
If you have additional input
for upcoming WEU negotiations, please send it to:
Arrangements have been made again this year where members can receive substantial discounts on "Passports" good at both Wild Waves and Enchanted Village. Regular rates are ~$30 for adults, ~$25 for kids who are 48" and under. (Children 2 and under are free.) SPEEA-discount dates & rates are:
June 22nd through Friday, June 28th
We are also selling tickets that are good for ANY DAY in July or August (you pick your own date!) These discounted tickets cost $20.00 each.
Under new Six
Flags' management, ten exciting new rides are being added to the park
this year. For info:
Order form can
be downloaded from our website:
order by the deadlines, allowing time for mailing the tickets to you.
(NOTE: Late orders CANNOT be processed.) For information, contact Robbi
at (206) 433-0995 ext. 126.
Lunchtime meeting in Kent
Council Reps at the Kent Site have scheduled monthly lunchtime meetings, featuring staff and Negotiation Team members as guest speakers. This month's meeting is scheduled as follows:
June 20, 2002
Scheduled speakers include: Negotiation Team members Larry Marrell (Tech) and Tom McCarty (Prof), plus Jim Singletary & Rich Plunkett from staff.
The agenda will
include Introductions and
A light lunch will be provided, so please RSVP to your Council Rep or one of the meeting sponsors below:
Mark Rawlings (K-5 Council Rep) - (253) 773-1596
Judy Campbell (K-4 Council Rep) - (253) 773-1147
The Ed Wells Initiative announces continuing activity of two Technology Interest Groups. TIGs are knowledge-sharing forums for all engineering and technical people at Boeing.
Workshops are offered this month. Attend in person or gain access using your Net-meeting software.
The Process Technology Interest Group (P-TIG) hosts off-hour presentations Monday, June 17 (Tukwila) and Tuesday, June 25 (Everett). Jerry Martin, Director, BCA Process Management and Tom Currie, BCA Engineering Process Infrastructure will speak on the Boeing process profession and careers. Register and find out more at
The Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing TIG offers a workshop on Datum Referencing on Tuesday, June 11 (Renton) and Thursday, June 13 (Everett), 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM both days. No pre-registration is required. Find out more at
The Ed Wells Initiative is a joint SPEEA-Boeing program for the application of technical excellence. Solving problems, sharing knowledge, moving forward together. Learn more at http://edwells.web.boeing.com/
Emotional Intelligence and Situational Leadership
What is Emotional Intelligence? Is it really more important than IQ? How does it affect Leadership? Who are more Emotionally Intelligent: Women or Men? June's program will address these questions and blend Emotional Intelligence with Situational Leadership. Sylva Leduc, June's speaker, will focus her discussion specifically toward women.
Sylva is the founder of Turning Point Northwest (http://www.turningpointnw.com) and the new owner of Client Compass (http://www.ClientCompass.com), a small software company. She is a change agent, executive coach, and consultant with more than a dozen years of success facilitating change with individuals, teams and organizations. She has background in a number of assessments that she incorporates in her practice:
June 18, 2002
PRICE: Students and 1st Time Attendees: $20 includes networking dinner and program ($10 meeting only) ... AWC Members: $20 includes networking dinner and meeting ($10 meeting only). Non-Members: $35 includes networking dinner and meeting ($20 meeting only).
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: If paying by check, we must receive your payment at our P.O. Box by Thursday, June 13th, 2002; credit card - we must receive payment confirmation by Monday, June 17th Register online at: http://www.awcps.org/register.htm
or leave voicemail at (206) 781-7315. Send your check by the due date noted above to: AWC/PS, P.O. Box 179, Seattle, WA 98111, or pay by credit card on our site via PayPal.
For more information on the Association For Women In Computing - Puget Sound Chapter, check out their web site at: http://www.scn.org/IP/awc/test/awc.html