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Sept. 5, 2011

SPEEA Executive board submits letter to NLRB regarding FSRs

Labor Day
greetings from your friends at SPEEA. We know this has been a long process with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but we expect a decision soon.


In case you weren’t aware, the SPEEA Executive Board submitted comments to the NLRB on your behalf – regarding the Labor Board’s recently proposed changes to reduce delays in setting union election dates. In SPEEA’s comments on behalf of 25,000+ represented employees, the Executive Board shared your story of FSRs trying to organize with SPEEA, and the road blocks, delays and litigation that weigh down the system.


These proposed rules would have made a difference for FSRs seeking a union election,” noted Joe Goldhammer, SPEEA attorney for our case. For example, The Boeing Company didn’t formally state on the record its position that Team Leads (TL) were supervisors until the 12th (and final) day of the hearing. The new rules would not allow that to happen, leading to a quicker resolution. Under the new rules, supervisory issues would be resolved after the election.


The NLRB closed comments on the proposed changes to streamline the election process on Aug. 22. A decision will be made whether to adopt the rules for speedier elections in the future. 


Click here to see the letter SPEEA sent to the NLRB in support of the proposed organizing process with fewer delays.

As you make plans for the holiday weekend, check out free Labor Day and solidarity activities that all FSRs (and their families) are welcome to attend: http://www.speea.org/

 



Aug. 12, 2011

Latest legal briefs give NLRB arguments to decide FSR
‘community of interest’ with SPEEA Professional Unit


SPEEA and The Boeing Company this week submitted revised legal briefs to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 19. Filed Thursday (Aug. 11), the NLRB should have the information necessary to rule on remaining issues delaying a union representation vote of Field Service Representatives (FSRs).

 

The revised briefs highlight testimony from the 12-day hearing in January and February. Allowing testimony and exhibits from the earlier hearing avoids a second NLRB hearing. After reviewing the briefs, the NLRB should be able to determine if FSRs share the necessary “community of interest” with employees in SPEEA’s largest Professional Unit and whether Team Leaders are supervisors. If the union prevails on the community-of-interest issue, a date will be set for a vote of FSRs to join SPEEA.

 

In SPEEA’s 54-page legal brief, we show how FSRs’ jobs are highly functionally integrated with those of the SPEEA Professional bargaining unit. This includes frequent and continuous contact, interchange of employees, and our ability to assist and collaborate in the handling of difficult and complex issues with professional bargaining unit employees. Airline Support Engineers/Airline Support Account Managers (ASE/ASAMs), and service engineers, are just a few of the SPEEA professionals FSRs work with on a daily basis, share job duties, and as such, share the necessary community of interest with SPEEA Professional unit employees. SPEEA also explained why Team Leaders are not supervisors. 

 

Boeing’s 75-page legal brief repeats the company’s argument that FSRs are not professionals and that our duties are substantially different from our Boeing co-workers in the SPEEA Professional unit. The company argues our skills, functions and job duties are inferior and substantially different than those used by Professional Unit employees. Boeing continues to argue that Team Leaders are supervisors and should not be allowed to vote in an FSR election and be represented by SPEEA.

 

                   Read the SPEEA legal brief                Read the Boeing legal brief


Next steps                           

 

The Seattle area NLRB (Region 19) will issue a decision regarding both issues. There is no deadline or timeline for the decision.

 

If the NLRB agrees FSRs share a community of interest with employees in the SPEEA Professional Unit, the NLRB will set an election for FSRs to vote. The NLRB may also hold an election of SPEEA members in the Professional Unit regarding the FSRs’ request for inclusion in the Professional Unit.

 

If the NLRB rules FSRs do not share a community of interest, we can still seek an election to join SPEEA by forming our own FSR bargaining unit. SPEEA has similar-sized, stand-alone, bargaining units for Boeing pilots, engineers and technical employees.

 

Watch your home mail, email and the FSR website at www.fsryes.org for updates from our Organizing Committee. The website also has our contact information if you have questions.




July 28, 2011

NLRB will decide remaining FSR issues without holding a 2nd hearing

Edging FSRs a fraction closer to securing a vote to join SPEEA, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Wednesday (July 27) accepted a "stipulated agreement" between SPEEA and The Boeing Company that allows rulings on two remaining issues without holding a second NLRB hearing.

"This is good news," said Joe Goldhammer, SPEEA's attorney on the FSR organizing effort. "We weren't sure if the NLRB would require a second hearing when we filed our new petition July 14, but we needed to take this step to pursue an election for FSRs to join SPEEA."

In lieu of the hearing, SPEEA's legal team will revise our brief to focus on the facts that show FSRs have a sufficient "community of interest" with Boeing employees already included in the SPEEA Professional bargaining unit. We will also continue to assert team leaders are not supervisors. 

Both sides' revised briefs are due Thursday, Aug. 11.

Next steps
                                                    

Once briefs are submitted, the Seattle area NLRB will issue a decision regarding both issues. There is no deadline or timeline, this decision could take weeks or months.

If the NLRB agrees FSRs share a community of interest with employees in the SPEEA Professional Unit, the NLRB will set an election for FSRs to vote.  The NLRB may also hold an election of SPEEA members in the Professional Unit regarding the FSRs' request for inclusion in the Professional Unit.  If the NLRB rules that FSRs do not share a community of interest, we can still seek an election to join SPEEA by forming our own FSR bargaining unit. SPEEA has similar stand-alone bargaining units for Boeing pilots, engineers and technical employees.

Watch your home mail, email and the FSR website at
www.fsryes.org for updates from our Organizing Committee. The website also allows you to send questions in to the committee on the Contact Us page or our individual email addresses are on the About Us page.

 




July 14, 2011


Notice sent to NLRB
FSRs are continuing efforts to join SPEEA


After weighing available options and multiple conversations with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) about the status of our case, our FSR Organizing Committee today (July 14) re-filed a petition seeking a vote of FSRs to join SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001. Following the NLRB's guidance, the re-filing asks the NLRB to complete work on outstanding issues, including determining if FSRs share a community of interest with the SPEEA Professional Bargaining Unit.

Re-filing was our next step after the NLRB?s Washington, D.C. office last week denied our request to review and overturn the initial "Decision and Conditional Order" issued April 13 by the Seattle Region. In that conditional order, only one of three key issues was addressed, that was to agree with the assertion made by Boeing management that FSRs are "non-professional" employees. The order did not rule on the issues of FSRs sharing a "community of interest" with employees covered by the SPEEA Professional Contract and whether FSR Team Leaders are supervisors (an issue formally brought by Boeing on the last day of our 12-day hearing).

Our new filing asks the NLRB Regional Director to resolve outstanding issues so we can proceed with an NLRB vote of FSRs to join SPEEA.

We will submit the record from the hearing under the previous petition's case number to be considered and are hopeful Boeing will not try to stall and litigate this issue further. If the NLRB determines FSRs share a community of interest with employees in the SPEEA Professional Unit, an election will be held for FSRs to vote on joining SPEEA. In addition, the NLRB will hold an election of SPEEA members in the Professional Unit to approve FSRs joining the bargaining unit. If the Regional Director does not find sufficient community of interest, we can still join by forming our own SPEEA FSR Bargaining Unit. SPEEA presently has similar stand-alone bargaining units for pilots, employees at Triumph Composite Systems in Spokane, Wash., and employees at BAE Systems in Irving, Texas.

There is no way to know how long this process will take. SPEEA's elected leaders remain committed to supporting FSR efforts to join SPEEA. We will continue to update you as we learn more about the next steps in the process.

Watch your home mail, email and the FSR website at www.fsryes.org for updates from our Organizing Committee.



July 7, 2011

Notice sent to NLRB
FSRs are continuing efforts to join SPEEA

 

After weighing available options and multiple conversations with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) about the status of our case, our FSR Organizing Committee today (July 14) re-filed a petition seeking a vote of FSRs to join SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001. Following the NLRB's guidance, the re-filing asks the NLRB to complete work on outstanding issues, including determining if FSRs share a community of interest with the SPEEA Professional Bargaining Unit.

Re-filing was our next step after the NLRB?s Washington, D.C. office last week denied our request to review and overturn the initial ?Decision and Conditional Order? issued April 13 by the Seattle Region. In that conditional order, only one of three key issues was addressed, that was to agree with the assertion made by Boeing management that FSRs are "non-professional" employees. The order did not rule on the issues of FSRs sharing a "community of interest" with employees covered by the SPEEA Professional Contract and whether FSR Team Leaders are supervisors (an issue formally brought by Boeing on the last day of our 12-day hearing).

Our new filing asks the NLRB Regional Director to resolve outstanding issues so we can proceed with an NLRB vote of FSRs to join SPEEA.

We will submit the record from the hearing under the previous petition's case number to be considered and are hopeful Boeing will not try to stall and litigate this issue further. If the NLRB determines FSRs share a community of interest with employees in the SPEEA Professional Unit, an election will be held for FSRs to vote on joining SPEEA. In addition, the NLRB will hold an election of SPEEA members in the Professional Unit to approve FSRs joining the bargaining unit. If the Regional Director does not find sufficient community of interest, we can still join by forming our own SPEEA FSR Bargaining Unit. SPEEA presently has similar stand-alone bargaining units for pilots, employees at Triumph Composite Systems in Spokane, Wash., and employees at BAE Systems in Irving, Texas.


There is no way to know how long this process will take. SPEEA's elected leaders remain committed to supporting FSR efforts to join SPEEA. We will continue to update you as we learn more about the next steps in the process.




July 7, 2011

NLRB agrees with Boeing, FSRs are not professionals

 

SEATTLE - The Boeing Company's assertion that Field Service Representatives are not professional employees has prevailed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which today issued an order denying our request to review and overturn NLRB Region 19's "Decision and Conditional Order" stating the same. Today's order was issued in a single sentence.

 

While it is disappointing the NLRB agreed with Boeing, our FSR Organizing Committee is evaluating and considering options for moving forward.

 

Filed April 27, the Request for Review asked the Washington D.C. office of the NLRB to overturn the Regional Director's order. Our organizing petition sought affirmation that FSR work shares a community of interest with employees in the SPEEA Professional Unit contract.

 

Watch your home email and the FSR website at www.fsryes.org for updates from our Organizing Committee. 

 


 

June 25, 2011

Proposed new rules streamline union election process


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently proposed changes to reduce some of the delay for setting union election dates. These rules could prevent the ongoing struggle FSRs face.

"These proposed rules would have made a difference for FSRs seeking a union election," said Joe Goldhammer, SPEEA attorney for our case. "For example, The Boeing Company didn't formally state on the record its position that Team Leads (TL) were supervisors until the 12th (and final) day of the hearing. The new rules would not allow that to happen, leading to a quicker resolution. Under the new rules, supervisory issues would be resolved after the election."


As noted by the Board, the proposed amendments:

  • Remove unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of questions concerning representation.

  • Simplify case procedures and render them more transparent and uniform.

  • Eliminate unnecessary litigation.

  • Consolidate requests for Board review of regional directors, pre- and post-election determinations into a single, post-election request. 


For details on the proposed amendments, view the NLRB fact sheet and summary.

Take action - submit a comment of support for proposed rules

FSRs are encouraged to submit a comment supporting the new rules to streamline the NLRB election process.  Deadline: August 22.


  • To submit electronically, go to www.regulations.gov, and submit a comment under proposed rules with the key words: "representation case procedures."


  • To submit by mail, send to Lester Heltzer, executive secretary, NLRB, 1099 14th Street NW, Washington DC 20570.


June 3, 2010


Boeing files opposition to SPEEA request for
review from the Labor Board

 

In response to SPEEA’s request for review from the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB), The Boeing Company filed a 50-plus page brief.

In the brief, Boeing continued to trivialize and over-simplify the work of a Field Service Representative. They contend FSR work “does not require knowledge of the advanced type required by the Act,” and that aeronautics-related degrees are not professional in nature. They conclude “FSRs are technical, not professional employees,” and “they primarily rely upon their technical and mechanical experience, as well as the company’s communication tools, to helpcustomers resolve their issues,” according to the brief.


“In essence, the company pays lip service to the importance of the FSR job,” said Joe Goldhammer , SPEEA’s attorney, “while arguing that FSRs do not do intellectual or challenging enough work to qualify to join a professional unit by their own initiative.”


After reviewing this attempt to depreciate the value of the work of FSRs, SPEEA holds strongly to its position that FSRs easily qualify as professional employees in real life and under the
National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The NLRB in Washington, D.C., will now decide to accept or reject our request for review. See
article below for more information.
 

 



May 12, 2011


SPEEA files a request for review to overturn NLRB decision

 

SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001 filed a request for review May 11 with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D. C. SPEEA is requesting the Board overturn the "Decision and Conditional Order" issued April 13, by NLRB Region 19, which states FSRs are not professionals.

 

SPEEA representatives, our legal team and the FSR organizing committee agree this is the best path to move forward to try and overturn a ruling that represents a fundamental mischaracterization both of the facts of the case and the law of professional status.

 

According to labor law, FSRs need not be engineers to qualify as professionals in a unit with engineers. SPEEA's request for review highlights the factual evidence from the hearing that shows the majority of the FSRs have formal, relevant professional degrees, and the knowledge and experience that render them professionals in aeronautics, independent of their degrees, in the 46-page request for review.

 

The regional director's decision departed from Board precedent by requiring a group that seeks to join an existing unit of professionals to qualify specifically as engineers rather than as professional employees generally or in a related profession. Pages 7-9 of the request for review summarize how the regional director erred both factually and legally in his decision.

 

"We are asking the NLRB to make a final decision, not only on the issue of FSRs being professional, but also on FSRs sharing a community of interest with the SPEEA professional unit and whether team leads are supervisors," said Joe Goldhammer, SPEEA legal counsel. "To do otherwise, would unduly delay and complicate the proceedings."

 

Next steps

 

The request for review to the NLRB is the first step in the formal appeal process under the National Labor Relations Act. Boeing now has seven days to issue a response. The NLRB in D.C. then decides to accept or reject our request for review. If our request is accepted, new legal briefs outlining why the original decision was in error will be filed within 14 days. Boeing can also file a new legal brief. While the NLRB usually gives reviews priority, the process could take several months.

 

The NLRB in D.C. could rule on all of our issues, some of them or none of them. They could refer everything back to Region 19. Whatever the Board decides, we will proceed accordingly to secure the collective voice we need at work.

 

SPEEA has mailed a copy of the request for review to every FSR who gave us a home address.

 

Related links

SPEEA's request for review to NLRB in D.C. with attachments

NLRB Region 19 regional director's decision

SPEEA post hearing brief

Boeing post hearing brief


 

As we continue through this process, ask questions of your organizing committee or send your questions to info@fsryes.org. We also encourage all FSRs - domestic and overseas - to complete the survey on SRTs and pay at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/fsrsurvey1. Input from all FSRs is essential to ensure our information is an accurate representation of FSRs. 



Preliminary decision

NLRB ruling narrows union election options

 

SEATTLE - Based on testimony of Technical Customer Support Vice President Peter Weertman and other Boeing managers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a conditional order stating Field Service Representatives (FSRs) are not professional employees.

 

"Mr. Weertman was able to convince the NLRB that FSRs are not professionals, but he hasn't convinced us," said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. "SPEEA intends to continue advocating that FSRs be given the respect that professionals deserve."

 

Issued Wednesday (April 13) by NLRB Region 19, the decision presents other options for FSRs to vote and join SPEEA. These include a possible request for review of the decision or pursuing one of several types of decisions. SPEEA and the FSR Organizing Committee are reviewing options and will updte FSRs when a decision is made. We have 10 days from the NLRB decision to respond and determine which option to pursue.

 

"The company created enough of a smoke screen and confusion to overcome our own credible testimony and documentation that showed FSRs are professional employees," said Tom Buescher, attorney for SPEEA. "The ruling did not address other arguments Boeing made to prevent the FSRs from voting to join SPEEA."

 

In stating FSRs are not professionals, the NLRB focused on the issue that not all FSRs are engineers. The decision also discounted and ignored the fact that FSRs acquire a wealth of advanced knowledge through non-engineering advanced degrees and on-the-job experience solving complex technical problems for Boeing customers. 




The NLRB decision was based on 12 days of testimony and legal briefs by SPEEA and Boeing. At the hearing, Boeing solicited testimony from managers at Fleet Service, Technical Customer Support and Boeing Human Resources. Boeing's legal brief also relied heavily on the company's efforts which were in stark contrast to the first-hand testimony provided by working FSRs and union officials.





Download a .pdf of the legal briefs.

 

Page 71 - FSRs are NOT professionals

 

Page 83 - Team Leaders should NOT be allowed to vote on joining SPEEA

 

Page 84 - Even if the FSRs vote to join SPEEA, they should be prevented from joining until the existing SPEEA represented professionals hold a "Sonotone election" to determine whether they want the FSRs to join them. (Note: The SPEEA Council voted unanimously on Nov. 11, 2010, to welcome FSRs into SPEEA should the FSRs choose to join.)

FSR Paul Creighton, right, testifies.

"It is a huge disappointment Boeing is not only saying FSRs are not professional, but now the company is trying to deny me, as a Team Leader, the right to vote. As a Team Lead, I don't receive any special pay or benefits and act very similar to the leads that are currently represented in the SPEEA Professional bargaining unit. Team Leaders belong with our fellow FSRs in the SPEEA Professional bargaining unit."

 

Paul Creighton, FSR Team Leader
35 years Boeing (24 years Field Service)
Minneapolis, Minn.

 

Page 72 - SPEEA's concluding statement:

 

The Regional Director should direct an election in the following bargaining unit.

All full time & regular part time employees performing the work of Field Service Representatives within Boeing Commercial Airplanes working within the United States.

Excluded: All other employees including guards, supervisors and managers as defined by the Act. The ballot should further provide for an Armour-Globe election as follows:

If a majority of the employees in this voting group vote YES, they will be taken to have indicated their desire to be included in the existing bargaining unit as described in Section 1.1(a) of the current collective bargaining agreement between the Company and SPEEA, to wit, all persons working in the Company's plants in the State of Washington, including persons who are on travel status from such plants, who are classified by the Company in one of the classifications listed in Appendix B of the collective bargaining agreement and including those persons assigned (other than on travel status) at Edwards AFB, California or Palmdale, California who are classified by the Company in one of the classifications listed in Appendix B.

All of the FSRs sought in the petition are professional employees as defined by the Act and the evidence shows that they have a community of interest with members of the bargaining unit in which they seek to be included. They consist of a distinct, identifiable group. The team leaders are not supervisors and should be allowed to vote. Those FSRs who are currently on loan either to the SPEEA professional or technical bargaining units, should also be allowed to vote since they have a reasonable expectation of return to the bargaining unit.

Three other points need to be made:

First, even though the parties often used the shorthand of the job code GEC7 to describe this group during the hearing, the unit description should not reference it or any specific job code. The evidence is clear that these job codes are changed unilaterally by Boeing. Also, there is one FSR that has the job code GEC6, but both parties agree that that person can vote in an appropriate unit that includes his position.

Second, if the Regional Director rules that an election other than requested herein is the only appropriate election, SPEEA requests a reasonable amount of time to indicate whether it is willing to proceed on that basis.

Finally, because the FSRs are located all over the country, the election must be conducted by means of a mail ballot.

 


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