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A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) panel of experts, which included SPEEA Director of Strategic Development Rich Plunkett, spent the past 14 months reviewing safety procedures and quality processes at the Boeing Co. Their report is out this morning.
SPEEA is urging members in Washington state to support HB1893, to allow striking workers access to limited Unemployment Insurance benefits.
To take action, you can send a letter to your Washington state senator. You can also join SPEEA members and hundreds of other labor union activists from across the state at a labor rally in Olympia at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 28. Buses may be an option from Everett and Tukwila. Sign up for details.
About the bill
HB1893 would allow striking workers to collect unemployment benefits after work stoppages lasting more than two weeks.
This would go a long way toward leveling the playing field for workers exercising their collective bargaining rights – particularly low-wage workers who can’t afford to miss a single paycheck.
This is one of SPEEA’s top Northwest legislative priorities. With help from member outreach and meetings with lawmakers along with the efforts of countless labor supporters, the bill passed through the state House of Representatives and Gov. Jay Inslee vowed to sign it – but it must be approved by the state Senate first.
In an effort to improve quality and safety procedures at Boeing, SPEEA has proposed a new process that would protect unionized engineers and technicians who speak out about potential problems they see in their work area or even mistakes with their own work.
The proposed Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) would be a tri-party agreement signed by Boeing, SPEEA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). SPEEA brought the proposal forward in a meeting with Boeing executives on Jan. 31.
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Seven SPEEA members submitted valid petitions for the Executive Board, and six members submitted valid petitions for the Northwest Teller committee by the Jan. 24 deadline.
Ballot order determined in a random drawing by the Tellers
- Shaunna Winton
- Riaz Khan
- John Dimas
- Christopher Tracy
This election is for president and treasurer only. The secretary's position is uncontested.
Congratulations to the members who submitted valid petitions for the Northwest Teller committee. They ran unopposed and will begin serving two-year terms April 1. The Northwest Council officers validated the petitions.
- Carl Bakke
- Jimmie L. Mathis
- Robert Merriott
- Travis Moyer
- Todd Rosenfelt
- Mike Shea
In the Midwest, no Teller petitions were submitted by the deadline.
Look for an interim petition form coming soon to www.speea.org (drop-down menu: Councils/Forms, Petitions, Delineations) to fill one of these Teller committee openings:
- Midwest (two seats)
- Northwest Tech bargaining unit (one seat)
- SPEEA Pilots and Instructors Unit (SPIU) (one seat)
Tellers oversee union elections, Council district delineations and review the annual financial audit for SPEEA.
Rich Plunkett, SPEEA director of strategic development, also serves on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Organization Designation Authorizations Expert Panel and recently joined the Department of Transportation (DOT) Aerospace Supply Chain Resiliency Task Force.
By Rich Plunkett
SPEEA Director of Strategic Development
By now, most members have taken the Safety Management System (SMS) training “Product Safety: Every Decision Matters” and are aware of Boeing’s Speak Up system. Yet, few use the Speak Up program, preferring to rely upon less formal reporting methodologies (e.g., talking with your local manager, another member of management, etc.) with the assumption that they will resolve the concern and/or mitigate the hazard. Unfortunately, informal reporting mechanisms don’t guarantee the issue will find its way into the SMS as they do not have the formality of the Speak Up system.
Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun’s words during the presentation by executives regarding the Alaska Flight 1282 accident were: “Everything matters, every detail matters” and “… the strength is all of you speaking up.”
Boeing’s technical and engineering professionals are in powerful and unique positions to improve product safety and quality. We have a direct impact on the technical and safety matters under our control (i.e., what we are paid to do). We can also impact other safety areas with thoughtful suggestions on improvements to processes, decisions, protocols. Hence, we can answer Calhoun’s call to action by sharing our unique insights regarding all things that impact the collective ability to produce the greatest aviation products on the planet.
Boeing is just starting to embrace the concept of “Just Culture,” which encourages the reporting of safety concerns without fear of retaliation. Fortunately, SPEEA-represented employees have an additional layer of protection – Just Cause, which is found in Article 3 of the Engineering and Technical contracts. With these tools, we can move towards what is known as a “reporting culture.” To help with the redundant systems, please consider sending a copy of any Speak Up submittals to SpeakUp@speea.org.
| Rich Plunkett, SPEEA’s director of strategic development, has been named to a new federal task force studying the aerospace industry’s supply chain.
The new Aerospace Supply Chain Resiliency (ASCR) Task Force will hold its first meetings Jan. 10-11 in Washington, D.C. The group was authorized by Congress in 2023 and created by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
It is charged with identifying and assessing the availability of raw materials and critical manufactured goods, with respect to “major end items produced by the aerospace industry” per the DOT as well as the nation’s airspace system infrastructure.
The Task Force also is assigned to identify best practices and make recommendations on ways to mitigate risks and support a robust U.S. aerospace supply chain. It is expected to deliver its report to Congress in January 2025.
SPEEA is one of three labor unions with representatives on the 16-member panel. The others are the International Association of Machinists (IAM), represented by General Vice President Jody Bennett, and the Transport Workers Union, which will be represented by Gary Peterson, who is the TWU’s international vice president and air division director.
The SPEEA Executive Board voted to send a letter of support to nurses fighting for fair contracts in Wichita.
The nurses are represented by the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) in Wichita at Via Christi facilities and in Austin, Texas. They are seeking improved recruitment and retention to increase staffing levels for patient care.
Click here to see the letter.
The Wichita Engineering Unit (WEU) Bargaining Unit Council (BUC) is seeking applicants for the WEU Negotiation Team. The deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 26.
The WEU contract, which expires Dec. 1, 2024, covers more than 1,000 SPEEA-represented employees at Spirit.
If you’re a dues-paying WEU member and are interested, see the recommended eligibility requirements and application details at Bargaining Units/Current Negotiations.
|In response to calls from the media regarding Boeing’s recent communication on return-to-office expectations, SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth reiterated SPEEA’s position.
Right now, Boeing’s expectation is for our members to be in-office, but they’re letting managers have flexibility in allowing remote work, when it makes sense for their work group. We’d encourage Boeing to keep this status quo.
We’ve heard from some of our members that they will leave Boeing if they are forced to be in-office full time. We wouldn’t expect to see people quit their jobs, however, until the company actually mandates that.
Boeing has the ability, under our current contract, to both allow and terminate remote work arrangements at its discretion. However, in Letter of Understanding 13, Boeing acknowledges that remote work is “a viable option” that can “benefit both the company and the individual.”
We believe the data shows that remote work has proven its value. The SPEEA Council in October passed a resolution of continued support for remote-work options.
If Boeing can outsource engineering work to Poland or India – effectively letting those workers telecommute from other continents – it can and should also allow its aerospace professionals living in Stanwood or Sumner to work remotely too.
While Boeing continues to push for individuals to speak up when they see something and otherwise operate as informed, intelligent individuals, some managers are pushing for containment.
One of those measures is to keep employees in their current positions when the individual wants to transfer to another Boeing job. SPEEA’s Prof and Tech contracts limit the amount of time a manager can keep an employee from transferring, which is contrary to the new, non-union enterprise practice.
Our contracts reference an older Boeing policy that includes a number of important details. The policy includes a process for “Critical Situations” related to retention of employees which logically includes visibility to and the approval of a vice president.
For all other situations, employees are considered “releaseable” 12 months after their date of hire, rehire, recall from layoff or being transferred at their own request. The policy also includes the caveat below:
Release earlier than 12 months or from an established program or job assignment conclusion date may be authorized when the releasing management determines such release to be in the best interest of the company and employee.
If you are told you cannot take another position due to not being in your job long enough, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for your contract administrator. See your contract online at www.speea.org (drop-down menu: Bargaining Units/Contracts).
The Boeing Company’s unilateral corporate edict for employees to return to the workplace is more focused on workplace optics than actual data regarding productivity.
SPEEA-represented employees continue to show high levels of productivity – whether working on-site or virtually.
Union leaders and staff have repeatedly engaged Boeing on the need to allow employees to work virtually. Despite Boeing acknowledging virtual work is not impacting productivity and the company’s elimination of many on-site work spaces, corporate remains committed to returning its employees to the workplace.
While requiring its own direct employees to return to the workplace, Boeing continues to outsource work to locations around the world – effectively allowing this outsourced work to be performed offsite.
The people who are entrusted to design, engineer and support the manufacturing of the world’s most sophisticated aerospace products should also be trusted by their employer to decide how to best get their group’s work statement completed. It is unfortunate management continues to assert its right to manage workers with less than adequate regard for the needs and well-being of its employees.
We encourage employees who want or need to continue working virtually to discuss their situation, viable options, and accommodations with their manager. Many local managers are working with employees and finding solutions such as long-term telecommuting or leave of absences.
Information in LOU-13 relating to Virtual Office/Telecommuting of the Prof and Tech contracts may be helpful.
Committees are open to all members and cover a wide range of interests. Interested in politics? Join the Legislative and Public Affairs Committee. Other committees focus on diversity, member activities, new members, women's advocacy, veterans issues and other issues important to members. Attend a meeting to get a feel for the issues and activities. New issues and ideas are always welcome.
Established committees, along with their charter and officers are listed on the committee pages. For more information, attend a meeting or contact one of the committee officers.
SPEEA Committees Midwest Committees Northwest Committees
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