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Questions members ask about
changing the SPEEA Constitution

Why do we need to change the SPEEA Constitution?
SPEEA today lacks a reasonable means to grow beyond The Boeing Company and Spirit AeroSystems. In the past decade, SPEEA has lost more than 9,000 members due to moving work and outsourcing. Without the ability to grow beyond our current employers, SPEEA continues to shrink hurting our ability to be a strong voice for professional aerospace employees.

How does the existing SPEEA Constitution limit growth?
Language in the current SPEEA Constitution restricts growth to employees working at The Boeing Company, Boeing wholly owned subsidiaries, Boeing joint venture or Boeing successor employees. To expand beyond these bounds requires a costly vote and 60% approval from the entire SPEEA membership – before organizing can start.

Why is it important to grow SPEEA beyond its current bargaining units?
With employers focused on diminishing our numbers and voice within the aerospace industry, it is vital SPEEA grows to maintain resources and reduce the incentive for employers to outsource or move work to new locations. Helping workers at other companies gain union representation expands existing members’ career opportunities to more companies with union benefits and protections. Extending SPEEA’s reach and numbers also increases every members’ voice within the aerospace industry, allowing our union to have a stronger impact on wages, benefits, working conditions and aerospace standards throughout the industry.

Has SPEEA always had strict limits on new bargaining units?
No, traditionally SPEEA was open to employees at companies outside of Boeing without the current restrictions. These limits were placed into the Constitution in 1999 when aerospace industry growth was primarily within Boeing and our existing bargaining units.

How does SPEEA change the Constitution?
Members can change the constitution by approving new language in a referendum via an all-member vote. The referendum requires approval by 60% of the voting members.

Who is eligible to vote in the Constitutional Referendum?
All SPEEA, regular, dues-paying members in good standing are eligible to vote on the referendum to change the Constitution.

When will we vote?
The vote is planned for this fall. SPEEA Tellers are working to set the actual date.

How much will it cost to hold an all-member referendum
vote to change the Constitution?

The cost to hold a Constitutional referendum vote is similar to other SPEEA all-member votes. With SPEEA membership presently at about 17,000, the cost for paper, printing and postage is in the neighborhood of $20,000. While this is substantial, changing the Constitution makes this a one-time cost and eliminates the need to hold all-member votes every time employees from outside Boeing want to join SPEEA.

Has SPEEA tried to remove this roadblock to organizing before?
Yes. In 2009, changing this language was part of a larger ballot to elect IFPTE delegates. A majority of voting members supported the change at that time. However, approval did not reach the 60% required to change the Constitution.

Will adding new members change monthly union dues?
Monthly union dues are set by the SPEEA Constitution at .85 of the average hourly wage of all SPEEA members. Thanks to SPEEA contracts, current members are some of the highest paid aerospace employees in the country. Bringing in new members from other companies is more likely to lessen dues than increase dues for existing members. The impact of adding new members from outside current employers to our current membership of more than 15,000 will have minimal impact on the annual dues’ adjustment. 

Has SPEEA added new bargaining units before?
Yes! The Wichita Engineering (WEU), Wichita Technical and Professionals (WTPU), Triumph and SPEEA Pilots (SPIU) units were all added to SPEEA as new bargaining units.

Will current members benefit from SPEEA representing
employees at other companies?

Absolutely! By representing employees at other companies, Boeing and Spirit will have less incentive to move and outsource work. The expansion of union-representation also helps raise the standards for all employees. By bringing union-representation to employees at other companies, current SPEEA members have more options to change jobs while keeping the security of union-representation. Just as SPEEA benefits today from the ideas of members at different companies and locations, the union and members will benefit from increased employer diversity in the future.

Why should SPEEA expend efforts to organize workers at
other companies when there are non-union employees at
Boeing and Spirit who need union representation?

When workers at Boeing and Spirit express interest in joining SPEEA we work to help them gain union representation. SPEEA is currently helping non-union workers at Boeing Seal Beach join our union. Workers at other companies also express interest in joining SPEEA. However, when we explain the obstacles in our Constitution and weigh the cost of the all-member vote, starting an organizing campaign becomes unrealistic to them and SPEEA to pursue.

 

Questions about the Constitutional Referendum? Email: referendum@speea.org