Ross Hirsch
FSR Organizing Committee

Field Service Rep., Dallas
15 years service

 

Our committee agrees unanimously that organizing into a small group of 100 Field Reps is not what we want to do. We rejected the company's offer to this. We filed a petition to join the existing SPEEA Professional unit. This gives us a voice of over 14,000 of our co-workers and not just 100 employees.

 

Our effort to organize started when I approached SPEEA nearly 3 years ago. I was very frank with them that we are few in number. The SPEEA Council and Executive Board each voted unanimously to support FSRs joining the Professional unit. They know it's the right unit and the right thing to do. We all agree FSRs easily meet the NLRB standard of a  "professional employees" and I will testifying to that and support it with examples in the hearing. 


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April 29, 2011
NLRB extends deadline to May 11 for submitting a Petition for review 
SEATTLE - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) this week granted a request to extend the deadline to May 11 for SPEEA to submit a formal Petition for review of the decision that said FSRs are not professionals.

Attorney's for SPEEA asked for the extension to allow time to prepare a Petition that includes necessary details for the national board to get a complete understanding of FSR work and overturn the "Decision and Conditional Order" issued April 13 by Region 19.



April 18, 2011

SPEEA to seek review of NLRB election ruling
SEATTLE - After reviewing and considering options, SPEEA and our FSR Organizing Committee decided to request a formal review of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 19 Regional Director's decision stating FSRs are not professionals.

Now being prepared by union attorneys, to be filed by April 27, our request asks the NLRB in Washington, D.C. to review and overturn the "Decision and Conditional Order" issued April 13 by Region 19.

"Boeing raised the objection that the FSRs are not professional employees," said Ray Goforth, executive director of SPEEA.

"Unfortunately, in evaluating Boeing's objection, the Regional Director had the task of sifting through thousands of pages of documents and testimony and simply got it wrong.

"In a related matter, Boeing Technical Customer Support Vice President Peter Weertman has caused some confusion by sending mass emails claiming that Boeing isn't trying to stop FSRs from voting," Goforth continued. "The facts are that Boeing has consistently declined to allow international FSRs any vote at all and made legal arguments that the Team Leaders should be blocked from voting (page 83 of the Boeing brief).  Mr. Weertman is well aware of the facts.  His public claims to the contrary are bewildering."

The 37-page document from NLRB Region 19 seems to accept the smoke screen of testimony and documents from Weertman and other Boeing managers while discounting and ignoring first-hand examples presented by FSRs. This partial decision fails to recognize the fact FSRs acquire a wealth of advanced knowledge through non-engineering advanced degrees and on-the-job experience solving complex technical problems for Boeing customers.

After filing the request for review, Boeing has seven days to issue a response. The NLRB 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.

If the review overturns the Region 19 decision and rules FSRs are professionals, the NLRB will then rule on whether FSRs share a community of interest with employees in the SPEEA Professional Unit. 

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.

Download a .pdf of the complete NLRB "Decision and Conditional Order" at www.fsryes.org. The site also contains transcripts from the 12-day hearing and the legal briefs filed by SPEEA and Boeing.

 

National Labor Relations Act
The term "professional employee" means:

Any employee engaged in work predominantly intellectual and varied in character as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work involving the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance.

Requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning.

 

NEW - legal briefs available


Briefs filed in FSR election petition

Legal briefs from The Boeing Company and SPEEA were filed Thursday, Feb. 24, with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for consideration in the FSR petition to vote on joining the SPEEA Professional unit.   

The Board is considering more than 1,800 pages of transcript from the 12-day hearing, thousands of pages from more than 150 exhibits (139 from Boeing - 11 from SPEEA) as well as the legal briefs to make a decision. With the volume of material to review, a timeline for a decision is difficult to estimate.

 

The NLRB will now consider all the information submitted in the record to determine whether or not FSRs are professional employees, and if they share a community of interest with SPEEA-represented professionals. The NLRB will also determine whether Team Leaders are non-supervisory employees with the right to vote.

 

The legal briefs from Boeing and SPEEA are available to review at: NLRB hearing briefs.

 

SPEEA continues to argue that all FSRs are professional employees and should be allowed to vote. 

 

Boeing continues to argue in its brief that FSRs are not professional (see page 71). The company also argues that Team Leads should not be allowed to vote on joining SPEEA (see page 83).  

 

"It is a huge disappointment that the company is not only saying that FSRs are not professional, but that they are trying to deny (or block) me, as a Team Lead the right to vote," said Paul Creighton, FSR on the organizing committee who testified before the Board. "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. We hope the NLRB will make a decision that we belong with our fellow FSRs in the SPEEA Professional bargaining unit."

 


At the National Labor Relations Board union-election hearing in Seattle (from left): Paul Creighton, Field Services Representative (FSR) on the organizing committee, Rich Plunkett, SPEEA director of strategic development, and attorneys Joe Goldhammer and Tom Buescher representing SPEEA.

Update from NLRB hearing - Feb. 4, 2011


NLRB hearing ends after 12 days of testimony

Exactly one month after filing our petition for a union representation vote, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing ended yesterday (Feb. 3) with union attorneys pleased with the record created by our case and testimony.

"Every one of our witnesses did a fantastic job on the witness stand," said Joe Goldhammer, attorney for FSRs and SPEEA. "FSRs showed they are not only important employees, they showed they are professional employees who exhibited professionalism in the way they testified."

After completing our case Wednesday, the company's Atlanta-based attorneys called three rebuttal witnesses on Thursday. Procedural work consumed the afternoon. Attorneys for both sides agreed to submit briefs (written arguments) by Feb. 24. 

At the hearing, the company focused on preventing FSRs from voting to join the SPEEA Professional unit. Through testimony and more than 139 exhibits (thousands of pages), the company asserted FSRs are not professional employees. The company also used a number of divide-and-conquer tactics. Those tactics included claiming Team Leaders should be excluded from a union vote because Boeing claims they are really supervisors.

The company also tried to assert FSRs in different roles/assignments need to show a "community of interest" with employees in the SPEEA Professional unit. Finally, the company tried to keep FSRs out of the Professional unit by calling the Armour/Globe election an obscure and seldom-used process that is not appropriate under federal law. The claim was made even though Armour/Globe was created by the NLRB to allow groups like FSRs to join an existing bargaining unit like the SPEEA Professional unit.

After briefs are submitted later this month, the NLRB will consider all the material to make a decision regarding the union representation election. That decision should include an election date and a determination if the Armour/Globe process can be used.

Coincidentally, yesterday Boeing kicked off its plan to contact and schedule compensation interviews with some FSRs. Management also said corporate compensation specialists will "job-shadow" some FSRs in an attempt to better understand and validate our work. FSRs are encouraged to ask managers to explain why the company says we are not professionals. It is also reasonable to ask why, after years of delay, the company decided now is the time to review FSR compensation. Management has the right to talk to employees, but there are boundaries.

All of us on the organizing committee are available to answer your questions with accurate information and to share our personal stories from the hearing regarding our effort to join our fellow professionals in SPEEA. Additional information and ongoing updates are posted on the website at: www.fsryes.org.





Late update:   The NLRB hearing concluded Thursday afternoon. Check back Friday for the complete update.




Thursday, Feb. 2, 2011 - NLRB hearing update

Union lawyers complete FSR case as hearing nears end

After refusing to agree that domestic field service representatives (FSR) are professional employees, attorneys for The Boeing Company increased efforts this week to limit which employees will vote, and if possible, thwart an election to join SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001.

Attorneys for SPEEA and FSRs wrapped up our case Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing in Seattle. Boeing's Atlanta-based attorney team can now call rebuttal witnesses.

While presenting our case, union attorneys called five FSRs, three union staff, an Airline Support Account Manager and a Deputy Fleet Chief to testify. FSRs provided specific examples of the critical decisions they make daily to keep customer aircraft flying.

The company continues to claim Team Leaders (TLs) are supervisors as a part of its divide-and-conquer tactics.

Our petition for union election asks for the same Armour/Globe process used by Boeing's facilities engineers to join SPEEA in 1999. Established by the NLRB, Armour/Globe is an accepted process for an employee group to join an existing bargaining unit.

After the hearing concludes, attorneys for SPEEA and the company will submit legal briefs. The NLRB will then consider all the material before issuing a decision regarding the union representation election. That decision should include an election date and a determination if the Armour/Globe process can be used.

Send your questions to any member of our organizing committee. We are available and ready to provide accurate information regarding rumors or communications from the company.

Watch for additional informational emails and updates to the website as the process continues. Contact an organizing committee member or SPEEA staff if you have questions. Additional email addresses and telephone contacts are posted on the website atwww.fsryes.org.




Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 - NLRB hearing update

Dispatch from NLRB hearing

Boeing must stop denigrating FSRs and let us vote


While Boeing highlights the professionalism of its FSRs when talking to employees, customers and industry leaders, the company has taken a very different position before the National Labor Relations Board at the hearing to consider our petition to join SPEEA.

With the hearing now entering its tenth day, company testimony and evidence characterizes FSRs as little more than sales assistants who perform basic mathematical calculations and follow written instructions.

"It's time to allow field service representatives to move towards a vote," said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. "I call on The Boeing Company to enter into a stipulation today that its FSRs are professionals and to stop denigrating them as a litigation tactic."

There is precedent for Boeing to stipulate FSRs are professionals. During the NLRB hearing for facilities engineers in 1999 which resulted in a successful Armour/Globe election, Boeing stipulated some non-engineers are professional employees as defined by the National Labor Relations Act and should be included in the vote.

Boeing's strategy at the hearing continues to be focused on delaying the proceedings with detailed questioning or cross-examination and to flood the proceedings with mountains of documents its Atlanta-based attorneys enter into evidence.

"Denigrating the professionalism of the FSRs undermines the relationships these critical employees have with customers and with other Boeing employees," said Goforth.

Two FSRs, an ASAM (Airline Support Account Manager), and two union officials have testified thus far. Additional FSRs will testify if Boeing maintains its objections and forces the hearing to continue. On Friday the company said it will attempt to carve TLs (Team Leads) out of the FSR group, calling them supervisors, and thus denying them a vote to join SPEEA.

If the company continues its strategy, including withholding all possible issues, the hearing could stretch to mid next week and possibly longer.

FSRs are reminded to send questions to any member of our organizing committee. We are available and ready to provide accurate information regarding rumors or communications from the company.

Watch for additional informational emails and updates to the website as the process continues. Contact an organizing committee member or SPEEA staff if you have questions. Email addresses and telephone contacts are posted on the website at www.fsryes.org.




Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

 

NLRB hearing update

FSRs start testimony with examples of professional work

 

 

SEATTLE - After more than five days of testimony by managers and officials from The Boeing Company, the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday heard for the first time a Field Service Representative describe how his education, experience and problem-solving skills are used every day at work.

 

The testimony from Ross Hirsch, FSR for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Dallas, came as attorneys for SPEEA and the domestic FSRs wanting to become union-represented, started presenting their case. The testimony is taking place at the NLRB hearing to set a date for FSRs to vote on joining the Professional Unit of SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001.

 

 


National Labor Relations Act

The term "professional employee" means -

 

Any employee engaged in work predominantly intellectual and varied in character involving the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance, as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work.


Requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an institution of higher learning.

 While making the company's case, Boeing's Atlanta-based attorneys called on a number of Boeing managers and human resources officials to testify. After initial questioning by the company, union lawyers cross-examined each witness. With the start of the FSR case, the process now reverses with union lawyers calling witnesses and doing initial questioning and then company lawyers cross examining.

 

Hirsch gave multiple examples of work situations that required on-the-spot analysis and decision making that professionals make on a daily basis. With more than 31 years of experience in aerospace, he explained that an FSR's job involves working with engineers at airlines or Boeing. In one example, Hirsch explained how he helped devise a solution for a cracked part on a customer's aircraft and then called a telecom meeting that included liaison, tooling, stress and service engineers along with the needed DAR (designated authorized representative). In other examples, first involving sealants and another involving an engine pylon, he explained how his experience and training changed the way repairs were made to fleet aircraft.

 

"I use my analytical skills everyday to make decisions," said Hirsch. "Every FSR does that."

 

By explaining to the NLRB how Field Service Reps perform professional work and share a "commonality of work" with employees in the SPEEA Professional unit, the NLRB can proceed with scheduling an "Armour/Globe" election for FSRs to vote on joining the SPEEA Professional Unit. A common process for employees to join an existing union bargaining unit, "Armour/Globe" was used by Boeing's Facilities Engineers to join SPEEA in 1999.

 

In actions similar to the 1999 NLRB hearings, Boeing entered more than 120 exhibits (documents) into evidence at the hearing. The exhibits range from a document of several pages to rubber-band bundled stacks of that include several hundred pages, such as the 477-page Exhibit 119.

 

A number of FSRs will testify to their work and provide additional examples of its professional nature.

With the hearing now expected to continue into next week, FSRs in the workplace can expect to receive additional communications from Boeing management. The company has the right to speak with employees. If the company begins individual meetings, we urge all FSRs to ask company officials if they agree and to please explain the company's position that FSRs are not professional employees.

 

The organizing committee is ready to answer your questions, address any rumors and provide every FSR with accurate information about the process to join our fellow co-workers and professional aerospace employees in the SPEEA Professional unit.

 

Watch for additional informational emails and updates to the website as the process continues. Contact an organizing committee member or SPEEA staff if you have questions. 

 

 



Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011

 

NLRB hearing update

Boeing expected to complete its testimony Wednesday

 

With five days of testimony completed, The Boeing Company is expected to turn the stand over to SPEEA and Field Service Representatives sometime Wednesday at the NLRB hearing in Seattle. The hearing, which started Jan. 19, is being held to set a date for a union representation election for FSRs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes in the United States.

 

If Boeing does complete its presentation Wednesday, lawyers representing SPEEA and the FSRs are ready to begin presenting our case. Through testimony and evidence, union lawyers will show that FSRs are professional employees and should be included in the SPEEA Professional unit.

 

Watch this website and your home email for information regarding our case after Boeing concludes its testimony.

 




Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011

 

Boeing tells NLRB that FSRs are NOT professionals

 

SEATTLE - The Boeing Company continued efforts Thursday to convince the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that Field Service Representatives are not professional workers and therefore should not be allowed to join co-workers in the Professional unit of SPEEA - IFPTE Local 2001.

 

The company's view of our work unfolded at the hearing to set the date for a union representation election for the 100 domestic FSRs in Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The hearing, which started Wednesday, continues at the NLRB's Region 19 office in the Henry Jackson Federal Building in Seattle.

 

After opening statements, the company's Atlanta-based lawyers started making their case with detailed questioning of Michael Didonato, director of Boeing Field Service. The company laboriously questioned Didonato when the hearing reconvened Thursday, continuing into the afternoon with detailed questioning of other company officials.

 

Convincing the NLRB that Field Service Reps are not professional workers and do not have a commonality of work with employees in the SPEEA Professional unit is key to Boeing's effort to keep FSRs from joining fellow union-represented co-workers. The FSR Organizing Committee petition asks the NLRB for an "Amour/Globe" election - a process established by the NLRB for employees to join an existing union bargaining unit.

 

"FSRs are professionals and we easily meet the NLRB's standard for professional employees," said Ross Hirsch, FSR in Fort Worth and organizing committee member. "Our goal has always been to join our co-workers in SPEEA's Professional bargaining unit. This gives us a strong voice with 14,000 of our professional co-workers. The company wants to keep us a separate and small group of 100 FSRs. That's not what we want."

 

Used by Boeing's facilities engineers to join the SPEEA Professional unit in 1999, Armour/Globe is a common way for employees to join an existing bargaining unit. Armour/Globe is available as long as there is a community of interest between the new employee group and employees in the existing union bargaining unit. 

 

The NLRB hearing is expected to continue for at least several more days. As it does, FSRs around the U.S. can expect to hear from management regarding union organizing. Management has the right to talk to employees, but there are boundaries. The FSR Organizing Committee is ready to answer your questions, address any rumors and provide every FSR with accurate information about the process to join our fellow co-workers and professional aerospace employees in the SPEEA Professional unit.

 

Watch for additional informational emails and updates to the website as the process continues. Contact an organizing committee member or SPEEA staff if you have questions. Email addresses and telephone contacts are posted on the "About Us" page of this website. 

 

Read the FSR petition seeking union representation



 

Field Service Reps need a united voice at work!


As Field Service Representatives, we work every day to get the job done. Increasingly, we are experiencing policy changes that directly impact our work and families. Now, we are experiencing significant benefit takeaways. All of these take place without our input. Too many of us in Field Service are falling behind other professionals at Boeing and other aerospace companies.

 

With more than 24,500 represented employees, SPEEA - IFPTE, Local 2001, is the largest, professional aerospace union in the United States. With SPEEA, employees have a legally-binding contract that guaranties wages, benefits, working conditions and gives members a voice in the company's decision making process. 

 

It is time for Field Service Representatives to have the same strong united voice at work as our fellow professionals in SPEEA.  Review the information in our website, talk to co-workers and members of our organizing committee You too will agree it's time to work together and gain the protections available in a professional labor union.


Today, BCA Field Service Representatives at Boeing are:

  • Never off duty. FSRs are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Not paid overtime when working more than 40 hours a week.

  • Facing increased costs for medical coverage and out-of-pocket expenses for individuals and families.

  • Required to take all assignments, no matter how disruptive to personal lives with little input.

  • Have few options for promotions, there are many FSRs who qualify for, but can't even become elevated to a level 5.
  • Facing job and career loss as Boeing talks about replacing many overseas assignments with local hires to lower costs.


 

Boeing leaders have employment contracts - We deserve one too!


Time for FSRs to work together

Together, we can have a stronger voice!


The aerospace industry remains a very dynamic industry with exciting programs.  As a group, companies like Boeing still need Field Service Representatives. But, the company dictates working conditions, change benefits and holds down our salaries. As individuals, we have been powerless to do anything about it. The mantra that "real professionals don't need a union" has hurt us. Boeing has used this against FSRs for decades. 

 

Many of us in Field Service love our jobs and the vital role we have servicing customers. However, we are also deeply concerned about the future and direction of Field Service at Boeing.  Only with unity and representation will we ever have a chance to get the respect, pay and benefits we deserve. Signing a union authorization card means that you are ready to join us and work together as FSRs in the collective bargaining process. 

 

Together, we make life better and gain respect for all Field Service Representatives. Process for organizing

 

Ross Hirsch

Field Service Representative

Dallas, American Airlines



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