Brendan Boyle
Mechanical Engineer

SPEEA Council Representative
Seattle, Washington

 

We have a regularly scheduled meeting with managers to discuss issues with different levels of managers. The beauty of it is that it is on the calendar. We would not have that without a union. That's why I really believe a union is good for workers and good for the company.

The SPEEA Difference

Benefits and a voice members can count on!

 

The pay and benefits members have today are the result of more than 60 years of contract negotiations, workplace actions, and cooperative efforts with The Boeing Company.

In addition to negotiating guarantees on wages, benefits and working conditions, SPEEA -represented employees have a strong voice in the workplace to deal with issues. Union leaders and staff regularly meet with Boeing managers and HR to discuss workforce and benefit issues at regional and site levels.

 

One example is our SPEEA/Boeing partnership in Service Engineering and Maintenance Engineering at Commercial Aviation Services (CAS). Members and managers meet regularly to discuss issues affecting employees and their work.

 

The 2008 negotiations resulted in historic gains for union-represented employees. Below are examples that show the difference between what Field Service Representatives receive and the guarantees in SPEEA/Boeing contracts.

Health care - union / non-union

 

Affordable health care benefits are essential for working families. Negotiations have prevented unjust benefit cuts and secured a medical plan free from premium contributions. Union-secured benefits cannot be changed without negotiating with the union.

 

 In 2008 negotiations, contract gains included enhanced preventive care in the Traditional Medical Plan. Adults may receive immunizations, children over 6 are covered, and any future United States Preventive Task Force recommendation is automatically covered.  Many employers push health-care costs to employees, sometimes with little notice. The costs can amount to hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. SPEEA negotiators have fought to save members thousands of dollars in benefit reductions and increasing costs. They would not have been successful without the strength of the 24,000-plus members in the union. 

 

Traditional Medical Plan: Contract guarantees better coverage

 

Union plan pays 100% after the $225 deductible, and even non-network expenses are limited to $4,000 for a family, no more than $2,000 per person.

 

 The non-union 2011 plan pays 90%. In 2012, that drops to 80%. After the $300 deductible, the non-network expense maximum is $12,000 for a family, no more than $4,000 per person. 

 

Cost comparison 
For every 1,000 members, spouses and dependants covered, we expect 90 to 120 to be admitted to a hospital at some point during the year. 

 

 For every in-network hospital admission

Union members pay just $225 (the annual deductible). After the deductible, claims are paid at 100% of the covered charges. 

 

Non union pay will likely pay over $1,300 per admission for an average hospitalization ($300 deductible plus 10% of the covered charges). In 2012, they will likely pay $2,300 per admission for an average hospitalization ($300 deductible plus 20% of the covered charges). If three members of their family were hospitalized, the non-union employee would have to pay $6,900.  

 

For physical therapy (ex. 15 visits)

Union - $15 per visit = $225

Non-union - $30 per visit = $450

 

Long-term disability

When you need it most, the SPEEA plan puts more in your pocket!  Union long-term disability payments are income-tax free.o   The non-union benefit is taxable as income.

 

Other gains

Contract negotiations eliminated limits on the Select Network plans for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, transplant limits, and other items, including how frequently members need an ambulance. 

 

 

Financial gains guaranteed

Wage increases

Members believe wage increases need to be both merit-based as well as providing a guaranteed hedge against inflation. In 2008 negotiations, the professional employees succeeded in securing 5% per year wage pools through 2012. Of this amount, 2% is guaranteed to each employee and 3% is distributed based upon a merit-based system (over 99% of the represented employees received a portion of the 3% pool). At least 0.5% is slated for promotional and out-of-sequence increases throughout the year. 

 

Overtime

Our contracts guarantee premium pay for overtime despite the legal exemption that most employers use to deny professional employees additional pay for work beyond 40 hours per week. For members in the professional bargaining unit who work beyond 144 hours in a quarter, they are paid straight time plus $15 per hour through 2010. Overtime hours up to 144 hours per quarter are paid at existing rate of straight time plus $6.50.  

Annual bonus
SPEEA contracts also guarantee participation in the Employee Incentive Plan.

 

Shift premiums, alternate work schedules and premiums

SPEEA originated the alternate work schedules to include the incentives (weekend rate, schedule factor, and shift percentage).  The concept was subsequently adopted as a best practice enterprise wide; however, only SPEEA-represented employees have protections against abuse, including preventing management from forcing employees to work weekend schedules or flex their time to accommodate partial-day absences.  The union negotiations also gained increases to the shift and weekend rates for the 2008 contract.  
 Vacation payout
For those whose vacation balances exceed the two-year accumulation maximum through 2010, SPEEA represented employees will be paid for the excess amount in the first paycheck of the next quarter.   

 

Job security  

Through the negotiation process, SPEEA members secured strong retention protections for members, including contract language:

  • Requiring contractors to be released before SPEEA members are laid off.
  • Requiring managers to rate employees every year even when employment numbers are increasing, so members know where they stand before any potential layoff.
  • Taking years of service into consideration, ratings are also performance driven. Service adjustments are available only for those employees with 20 or more years of company service.
  • Providing recall rights for three years - no one can be hired from the outside into that skill before the priority recall roster is exhausted for that skill.
  • Committing to meet regularly with the union on topics related to outsourcing and contract labor.

 

 

Professional development and training

The availability of ongoing training is important and necessary for aerospace professionals to maintain skills and career advancement. SPEEA successfully negotiated a number of training and career programs to ensure members have the opportunity to maintain and gain new skills. 

 

Ed Wells Partnership

The Ed Wells Partnership (internal Boeing link)  is a joint initiative between Boeing and SPEEA that provides a variety of training opportunities for members throughout the Puget Sound and Wichita, Kansas. This negotiated benefit provides $24.8 million in funding for members during the four-year duration of the contract. Training opportunities enhance technical skills, develop careers and fund participation in conferences. Classes and training is open to all employees in the Professional contract.

Salary charts

Members use SPEEA's detailed salary charts to gauge their career progression and hold their manager accountable to explain their pay and performance relative to peers. If you're interested in changing job codes and want to know salary ranges, you can use more than 200 sets of SPEEA charts as well as summary data published by SPEEA each year following salary adjustments. Take a look at the salary charts for more information on how they work.
Click image to download .pdf of complete salary chart

Right to representation

 
As part of a union, employees are not alone in case of a discipline or security issue.  All represented employees have additional rights beyond the standard Weingarten Right to representation. Trained members are available in the workplace if you are called into a meeting that could lead to discipline. Union staff are also available to work grievance issues. Every negotiated contract spells out a fair process outlining progressive discipline. SPEEA-represented employees cannot be subjected to unfair discipline by the company.