Triumph Negotiations

Sept 24, 2013
Members accept contract

SPOKANE, Wash. – Members at Triumph Composite Systems voted 35 to 4 to accept a three-year contract offer Sept. 24. The SPEEA Negotiation Team recommended the offer after lifting it for a vote Sept. 21.

The SPEEA Negotiation Team members with SPEEA President Tom McCarty (center). The members from left: Alan Adams, Sammie Eastman, McCarty, Wes Kaiser, and Noah Bettin.

“We were able to achieve what we believe to be a fair contract,” the SPEEA Negotiation Team said in a statement to members with a recommendation to accept the offer.

SPEEA President Tom McCarty addressed the all-member meeting in addition to members of the Negotiation Team presenting highlights and answering questions.

Despite the uncertainties related to future Boeing work, the aerospace supplier in Spokane provided several improvements to the contract, such as guaranteed and selective wage increases and two annual lump sum bonuses for the three-year contract.

Changes in the contract included:

  • Increased 401(k) match to a maximum employer contribution of 3.6%.
  • Improved Contractor Language to better protect members from
    layoff while contractors are employed.
  • Improved the shift differential.
  • The new PPO plan has the employer funding up to $1,000 per year to cover eligible expenses, which can offset higher deductibles and
    out-of-pocket costs.
  • Dental Plan was improved but network was changed.

There SPEEA Negotiation Team members included Alan Adams, Noah Bettin, Sammy Eastman and Wes Kaiser (Council Rep), and staff, including Rich Plunkett, SPEEA director of strategic development, Matt Kempf, SPEEA benefits director, and Steve Spyridis, SPEEA contract administrator (compensation focal).

Contract vote results Count
Triumph Unit  
Accept 35
Reject 4
Stirke Authorization Count
Yes 25
No 14





Update 9-23-13
Spokane team lifts contract offer from Triumph, voting is Tuesday

All-member meeting and contract voting

3 to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 24

Hampton Inn
2010 S. Assembly Road
Spokane, WA 99224
Directions to hotel

SPOKANE, Wash. -- After working late into the evening Friday (Sept. 20), your SPEEA team resumed bargaining Saturday.  We have now lifted a recommended offer to be voted on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Watch for voting details in your email and posted on this website.

This offer includes:

Lump Sum Bonuses

  • 2013: $6,000
  • 2014: $3,000

Wage Increases

  • 2013: 2% guaranteed and 1% selective for a total pool of 3%
  • 2014: 1% guaranteed and 2% selective for a total pool of 3%
  • 2015: 1% guaranteed and 2% selective for a total pool of 3%

Additional changes in this contract offer:

  • Increased 401(k) match to 100% of the employee’s first 2% deferred and 40% of the next 4% resulting in a maximum employer contribution of 3.6%.

  • Management committed to improving communications, including skills development opportunities, improved visibility of the methodology of the selective pay adjustment process, and the overall direction of TCS/TIAI.

  • Improved Article 5 increasing flexibility in the use of vacation. Clarified the requirement to use vacation for FMLA.  The maximum vacation accrual was increased by 40 hours.

  • Improved Article 9 Contractor Language to better protect members from layoff while contractors are employed.

  • Added language with regard to exempt travel allowing for flexing when management requires employees to travel on weekends.  
  • Included salary references used by management in determining selective increases within Article 11. 

  • Improved the shift differential to $0.85 per hour.

  • Medical plan EPO will no longer be available. New PPO plan has higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs but provides for up to $1,000 per year of employer funds to cover eligible medical and dental expenses. (Details to come).  

  • Dental Plan was improved but network was changed.

The contract is only ratified by a vote of members. Watch this site and your email.

SPEEA - Triumph Negotiation Team

Alan Adams

Noah Bettin

Sammy Eastman

Wes Kaiser

Statement of team

September 23, 2013

Dear SPEEA Triumph Bargaining Unit Member,

The negotiations process was not easy, with intensity on both sides.  All parties agreed that TCS/TIAI needs to be successful. We feel SPEEA-represented employees are critical to the new business model and should participate in the success.  Most of the intensity was centered around “how to make that happen” and “how much was the appropriate share in the success.”

Team Recommends

Relative to the appropriate share granted to the SPEEA population through the Contract, management shared their concerns around the outstanding Boeing RFQ, required cost reductions, and corporate controls. They did state that although the engineering and technical workforce was critical to the success of these endeavors, the uncertainties and the continual cost pressures by Boeing constrained what they were able to offer.  Your team presented a compelling argument regarding relative value of the SPEEA population that ultimately bettered the results during bargaining.  We believe that our overall value is still greater than management believes, but we do recognize the uncertainties going forward.

We spent considerable energy on some of the communication issues between management and the SPEEA-represented employees, specifically the performance management process.  Both sides agreed that rather than trying to limit each other in the Contract through language, we will jointly focus on  significantly improving the lines of communication over the next several months, and carrying that forward. One of the first steps was to document management’s current market mid-point and the maximum for each job at TCS/TIAI.  Management explained to the team how they have been using these values along with individual’s current salary level and their performance management scores in the process of awarding selective salary adjustments.  Hence, your team sought to increase the transparency of the process and to better inform employees, which should result in better communications. There is also a commitment to review the salary table with management bi-annually and to improve the performance management process.

We had multiple discussions about market comparisons and appropriate salary references.  Triumph management believes the Spokane market to be significantly lower than the data obtained by SPEEA.  Management factored in the cost of living and used some employee reported surveys to justify their position.  SPEEA countered with its own national data as well as data used by major aerospace companies.  Management stated that they are not having difficulty in attracting or retaining the talent they need to be successful.  While we remain convinced that management’s perspective on the appropriate market values is still too low, they did move their market mid-points up 2% for the non-exempt population and up 6% for the engineers, and have now published the ranges.

On the medical plans, it was clear that TGI desires benefit reductions and streamlined plan designs.  You will find that the out of pocket costs will increase from current levels but management is offering incentives for healthy behavioral choices that will alleviate some of these increased costs.   While the changes result in greater employee and employer costs, the plan is still better than the national average.

We were also able to achieve a modest improvement to the 401(k) plan.  Employees who contribute at least 2% will see a dollar-for-dollar match from TCS/TIAI on their first 2%.  Employees who contribute beyond that point will have each dollar matched with $0.40 from TCS/TIAI for the next 4% of the employee’s salary deferral.  Hence, someone contributing 6% will receive 3.6% in matching employer contributions.

In the final analysis, your SPEEA Negotiating Team was able to lift an offer to bring to you for a vote that we believe to be an acceptable balance of the interests of management (representing the shareholders) and the SPEEA population.  Did we get everything we wanted?  No!  But we were able to achieve what we believe to be a fair contract.  As a result, your team recommends you vote Yes to Accept this offer.

SPEEA - Triumph Negotiation Team

Alan Adams

Noah Bettin

Sammy Eastman

Wes Kaiser

Update 9-12-13
Team gathering and reviewing member input

Our Negotiation Team has been working to collate the information gathered in the two surveys, as well as the numerous hallway conversations, regarding our upcoming contract talks.  Following is a high level of what we have established thus far.  Please continue to provide your input to your team members in person or via the contact information below. 

·       Medical - The vast majority of folks want to at least maintain what they have in terms of medical coverage with a majority on the EPO plan. However, even maintaining existing dental coverage levels remain a problem.

·       Retirement - Most agree that the current 401(k) matching is inadequate. Almost everyone would contribute more if the match were increased.

·       Retention Ratings - The assessment of the retention rating system was varied. Employees who do well under the system approve of it while those that do not have a good relationship with their manager do not approve.  In other words, greater opportunity to shine and/or visibility, as well as a sense of fairness, is strongly desired.  Similar responses were given on the performance evaluations.

·       Job Security - Clearly there are grave concerns regarding job security given the changes and uncertainty facing TCS.  Employees clearly want to know more about Triumph’s business plan going forward. Perhaps even more importantly they want to know what their role in it is or even if their position exists in that plan.

·       Salaries - Almost universally, employees indicated a recognition that they are paid below market norms and are not keeping up with the cost of living. This is occurring even while TCS remains profitable.  As for selective versus guaranteed increases, the data suggests management has a very difficult time distributing salary increases based upon performance.

·       Work / Life Balance - Many employees expressed concerns relative to maintaining a work/life balance; expressing it through dissatisfaction with the current PTO or vacation or availability of flexible work schedules, etc.