2008 Local Labor News

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Following was released Monday, Dec. 1, 2008

SPEEA Technical and Professional Employees
Approve Four-Year Contracts with Boeing

Bill Dugovich
SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001 Communications Director

With one of the largest ballot returns in union history, engineers and technical workers approved new four-year contracts with The Boeing Company. The agreements take effect at midnight.

At stake were contracts covering nearly 20,400 engineers and technical workers represented by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001. Votes were counted today (Monday, Dec. 1) at union headquarters in Seattle.

The final tally in the mail-in vote showed 69 percent of the voting employees in the SPEEA Technical Unit approved their contract offer with 3,429 voting to accept and 1,554 voting to reject. In the separate Professional Unit, 79 percent approved the offers with 7,184 voting to accept the offer and 1,951 voting to reject. Union negotiation teams recommended members approve the offers. Nearly 74 percent of the eligible members voted on the contracts. In 2005, just 65 percent of the members voted. Complete voting numbers are posted to the SPEEA website at www.speea.org.

“Passage of these contracts represents a first step in restoring the relationship between Boeing management and its engineering and technical workforce,” said SPEEA Executive Director and Chief Spokesperson Ray Goforth. “We have a lot of work to breathe life into the text of these agreements and we still need to finish negotiations in Wichita.”

The new contracts provide employees wage increases, benefit improvements, a voice in future decisions on outsourcing and a process to take a voluntary layoff with benefits. The union spent more than eight months negotiating the offers with Boeing. Final main table negotiations started Oct. 29.

While recommended, passage was not guaranteed. During more than 100 workplace meetings, union negotiators heard members talk about the continued lack of respect from management and concerns about a lack of confidence in Boeing corporate leaders.

“These were the toughest negotiations I’ve been involved with,” said Professional Negotiation Team chair and three-time negotiator Dave Patzwald.

Union leaders said members voiced concerns about management misdirection and lack of respect for employees for months. The comments grew out of frustration over corporate decisions that are causing continued delays to the 787 and 747-8, fastener problems on multiple aircraft and a continued push to hire more contract labor while pushing existing employees to work more and more overtime.

SPEEA and Boeing started work negotiating the new agreements in April. Negotiation teams reached tentative agreement on the two contract offers Nov. 14. SPEEA members cast votes by mail. Union leaders recommended members approve the contract offers.

The agreements provide salary increase pools of 5 percent in each year of the contract. Engineers in the Professional unit are guaranteed an increase of at least 2 percent each year and Technical workers are guaranteed increases of at least 2.5 percent during each year of the contract. In addition to the wage increases, improvements were gained to medical coverage, retirement and the company agreed to maintain the defined benefit pension for new employees. SPEEA stopped Boeing from cutting engineers in Utah from the Professional contract.

Negotiations for 700 engineers at Boeing Wichita resume on Tuesday, Dec. 2. The Wichita contract was extended to allow for negotiations beyond the original Dec. 5 expiration.

A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents more than 24,500 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., Triumph Composite Systems, Inc., in Spokane, Wash., and at BAE Systems, Inc., in Irving, Texas.

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Released Friday, Nov. 14, 2008

Bill Dugovich
SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001 Communications Director

SPEEA and Boeing Reach Tentative Agreement on New Contracts

Tentative agreement was reached today between the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, and The Boeing Company on new four-year contracts covering 21,000 engineers and technical workers.

The two sides reached agreement early Friday. Union negotiators are recommending members approve the agreements. If approved by union members, the agreements will replace existing contracts that expire Dec. 1.

Two contracts are involved in the negotiations. The first covers 14,000 engineers in the SPEEA Professional Bargaining Unit. The second contract covers 7,000 technical workers in the union's Technical Bargaining Unit. While the majority of workers are in the Puget Sound region, the contracts cover employees in Oregon, Utah and California. Both contracts expire Dec. 1.

Main Table negotiations started Oct. 29.


Following is the message to SPEEA members regarding the latest progress on negotiations (Nov. 13, 2008)

Tension Continues as SPEEA Counters Latest Boeing Proposals -- Day 13

Bill Dugovich
SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001 Communications Director

As Main Table negotiations remain tense, SPEEA negotiators Wednesday made counterproposals on outstanding issues in an effort to reach an acceptable agreement for the more than 20,400 employees covered by the Professional and Technical contracts. The moves included accepting a number of changes that align with stated Boeing goals and align with union members' key interests.

During a morning Main Table session, Boeing presented its second full contract proposal. After spending large portions of the day working internally, SPEEA delivered counterproposals during a late afternoon Main Table session.

One key item mutually agreed upon sets the duration of the new contracts at four years. In addition to the extended length, SPEEA agreed to the company proposal for an expiration date of Oct. 6, 2012.

Among the items receiving tentative agreement by SPEEA on Wednesday were:
- Article 5 - Vacation Plan
- Article 6 - Sick Leave
- Article 7- Holidays
- Appendix B - Holiday Schedule (2008 to 2012)
- Article 20 - Ed Wells
- Article 23 - Duration
- Side letter addressing vacation payout
- Side letter addressing overtime for engineers
- Side letter addressing the open period on long term disability
- Letter of Understanding addressing aircraft on ground (AOG) premium rates for employees in the Technical unit.

Despite the major moves by union negotiators, several major issues remain unresolved and possible stumbling blocks to successful completion of the negotiations. Among these items are wage increases, economics of medical benefits and retirement issues.

In an effort to reinforce the union's goal to keep Utah engineers in the Professional contract, Utah Council Rep Fred Stringham attended the Main Table sessions today as an observer. SPEEA members view the company's attempt to remove Utah engineers from the Professional contract as a first step to fragmenting the union into small parts.

By mutual agreement, specific details of the responses and counterproposals will not be available until negotiations conclude.

Main Table talks started Oct. 29 after nearly eight months of negotiations in committees. A short Main Table session was held on Tuesday. Additional discussions were held with the help of a federal mediator.

Additional information for members regarding negotiations issues and the process for securing new contracts is available on the website at www.speea.org.

Negotiations involve two union contracts. The first covers 13,898 engineers and a second contract covers 6,576 technical workers. While the majority of workers are in the Puget Sound region, the contracts cover employees in Oregon, Utah and California. Both contracts expire Dec. 1.

Negotiations for 700 engineers at Boeing Wichita originally scheduled to start Nov. 13 are delayed until Monday, Nov. 17. The Wichita contract expires Dec. 5.

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Following was released Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008 to SPEEA members as an update to Tuesday's Main Table negotiations.

Tensions Rise, SPEEA Contract Talks Continue on Wednesday -- Day 12

After continued incremental progress during recent days, negotiations with Boeing hit a stumbling block on Tuesday.

Bill Dugovich
SPEEA-IFPTE Local 2001 Communications Director

Facing incomplete responses from Boeing on a number of key issues and union proposals, SPEEA Prof and Tech negotiation teams expressed disappointment at progress. Main Table negotiations will continue Wednesday with Boeing negotiators expected to complete most of their remaining counterproposals.

With 12 days of Main Table talks completed, major economic issues remain. Among them are medical benefits, pensions and compensation. In addition, Boeing continues to push for removal of Utah engineers from the Professional contract.

"We were encouraged that the company was talking and engaging us at the table but today we hit some unfortunate stumbling blocks," said SPEEA Executive Director and Chief Spokesperson Ray Goforth.

By mutual agreement, no details of the responses and counterproposals will be available until negotiations conclude.

Main Table talks started Oct. 29 after nearly eight months of negotiations in committees. A short Main Table session was held on Tuesday. Additional discussions were held with the help of a federal mediator.

Additional information for members regarding negotiations issues and the process for securing new contracts is available on the website at www.speea.org.

Negotiations involve two union contracts. The first covers 13,898 engineers and a second contract covers 6,576 technical workers. While the majority of workers are in the Puget Sound region, the contracts cover employees in Oregon, Utah and California. Both contracts expire Dec. 1.

Negotiations for 700 engineers at Boeing Wichita originally scheduled to start Nov. 13 are delayed until Monday, Nov. 17. The Wichita contract expires Dec. 5.

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Published in the Everett Herald: Thursday, October 30, 2008

Boeing, SPEEA Contract Talks 'Productive'

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

EVERETT -- The Boeing Co. and its engineers union met Wednesday to try to avoid the company's second work stoppage this year as its striking Machinists consider Boeing's latest contract offer.

Discussions between the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace and Boeing were "reasonably productive," wrote Ray Goforth, the union's executive director, in a text message Wednesday morning. But "it is clear major differences exist on key issues," union leaders said in an update Wednesday night.

Leaders for Boeing and the union moved into a SeaTac hotel to negotiate a new labor contract to present to the union's 21,000 members by mid-November. Meanwhile, about 27,000 Boeing Machinists remain on strike as members prepare to vote Saturday on a new Boeing offer that has the support of union leadership. Boeing's contract with SPEEA expires Dec. 1.

Initial discussions between Boeing and SPEEA included workforce issues including grievance handling, vacation schedules, sick leave and holidays. The two sides also preliminarily broached the topics of contractors and outsourcing.

"I can't emphasize enough how critical these negotiations are to our employees, the company and our future," wrote Doug Kight, Boeing's negotiator, in a message to managers Wednesday.

The company's talks with SPEEA became even more significant after its Machinists brought jet production to a halt 55 days ago. Negotiators for Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers agreed late Monday to a tentative four-year pact. Details of the proposed contract will be distributed Thursday to Machinists, who will vote on it Saturday. If Machinists ratify the contract, they could return to work as soon as the third shift Sunday. Machinists would have roughly one week to report back to their jobs at Boeing. Full story

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Published in the Everett Herald: Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Will Deal Satisfy Union?

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

EVERETT -- The Groves family doesn't know how they'll vote -- not on the presidential election, but on the Boeing Co.'s latest offer to the striking Machinists.

But family members said Tuesday they're inclined to say no.

"It pretty much looks like the same offer as the last one but spread over four years," said Rebecca Groves, a Boeing materials handler, while standing picket duty in Everett on Tuesday.

The Groves, like the other 27,000 striking Machinists, will head to the union polls Saturday to decide whether to accept Boeing's contract. Company and union negotiators agreed on a new four-year contract late Monday after five days of mediated talks and 52 days into a work stoppage. Union leaders have urged members to accept Boeing's offer.

The new contract would last for four years, rather than the normal three-year term. Machinists will vote while picking up their weekly $150 strike checks at the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe. The contract needs the support of 50 percent plus one to pass.

"Our union has delivered what few Americans have -- economic certainty and quality benefits over the next four years," wrote Tom Wroblewski, district union president, in a statement Monday.

But Tuesday afternoon, after reading the union's summary of the contract, many Machinists were inclined to reject the offer. That includes Rebecca Groves, her sister-in-law Jodi and her mother Pam, all materials handlers at Boeing. While the offer protects their jobs for the next four years, Pam Groves was worried about the future.

"I'd love to be back to work next week, but I just don't know yet," she said. Full story

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Published in the Everett Herald: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boeing, Machinists Reach Deal

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

EVERETT -- Picketing Machinists, a fixture for the last 52 days outside the factory gates of the Boeing Co., could go back to building jets soon if union members approve a tentative contract reached late Monday.

"Our union has delivered what few Americans have -- economic certainty and quality benefits over the next four years," said Tom Wroblewski, district president for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said in a statement.

Five days into discussions with a federal mediator, negotiators for Boeing and the Machinists hammered out a contract that gives union members the job security they crave while allowing the company the "flexibility to manage its business," Boeing officials said. The offer includes a 15 percent wage increase over four years, a minimum of $8,000 in bonuses in the first three years and freezes health care costs at 2005 levels.

The Machinists' negotiators unanimously urged union members to approve the contract when they vote in the next three to five days.

"This is an outstanding offer that rewards employees for their contributions to our success while preserving our ability to compete," Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement. "We recognize the hardship a strike creates for everyone -- our customers, suppliers, employees, community and our company -- and we look forward to having our entire team back." Full story

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Published in Everett Herald: Monday, October 27, 2008

Sticking Point for SPEEA? Outsourcing

With contract talks set to open on Tuesday, Boeing's engineers and technical workers and the company disagree on the effectiveness of Boeing's global-partner model.

 

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

EVERETT -- How angry are Boeing engineers over problems created by the outsourcing of work on the company's latest jet?

The answer to that question may determine whether Boeing engineers and technical workers hand the aerospace company its second labor strike this year. Negotiators for Boeing and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace begin intense contract talks Tuesday.

"People never go on strike because of an extra buck an hour or because of an extra $10 (health insurance) co-pay," said Ray Goforth, executive director of SPEEA. "People go on strike because some deep emotional trigger has been pulled."

For the roughly 20,500 SPEEA members in the Puget Sound region, that trigger is respect. The engineers and technical workers last walked out on strike, in 2000, because many felt the company didn't respect them -- not in pay, bonuses or health coverage.

While wages and health benefits will factor into the contract negotiations beginning on Tuesday, the larger issue will be over whether Boeing listens to SPEEA's concerns about outsourcing in the wake of Boeing's numerous setbacks on its 787 Dreamliner program.

"My fear is that all the emotions are going to pour out if Boeing gives us a contract with any takeaways," Goforth said. Full story

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The Herald - Everett, Wash. - www.HeraldNet.com. Published: Friday, October 10, 2008

Life on the Strike Line

By Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writer

Thirty-five days ago, the Machinists left their jobs building commercial jets for the Boeing Co. and hit the picket lines.

At nearly 100 Boeing gates around the region, union members stand watch -- in the cold hours before dawn, under a bright afternoon sun and amid rain and gray. Each of the 27,000 striking Machinists has a story to tell, along with a reason for sacrificing some paychecks.

For Boeing, the strike is about cost, control and reputation. The aerospace giant could be losing as much as $100 million daily in deferred profits. It refuses to give in on outsourcing, a strategy Boeing says keeps the company competitive. And the strike, the company said, is costing Boeing its reputation as a reliable supplier.

Late Wednesday, leaders for Boeing and the union agreed to resume contract discussions. On picket lines in Everett, union members are cautiously optimistic that the two sides can reach an agreement. Until then, the Machinists will remain at their posts.

What's it like to walk the line?

The Herald spent hours doing just that in Everett while listening to and photographing members of the Machinists union. Here are their stories. Full story

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The Herald - Everett, Wash. - www.HeraldNet.com. Published: Friday, October 10, 2008

Boeing, Machinists Likely to Resume Talks this Weekend

By Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writer

EVERETT -- Tammy Adams wants to go back to work at the Boeing Co.

Outside the company's factory gate in Everett, Adams wore a blue Boeing sweatshirt but held a "Machinists Union on Strike" sign. She's one of 27,000 Machinists waiting to see whether a new round of talks between Boeing and the union will bring the now 35-day strike to an end. Inside Boeing's factory sit a few of the 3,700 jets on order with the company.

"I hope they come up with a deal -- I need to get back to work," Adams said.

The Everett resident has worked for Boeing the past 12 years. Adams recently had to pay the premium on her son's health insurance since her coverage through Boeing ran out Sept. 30 because she's on strike. Adams' son, Joshua, is on the waiting list for a liver transplant, so the family can't be without insurance.

Adams is hopeful that officials for Boeing and the Machinists union will come to an agreement on a new three-year labor deal. She wants the sides to work out their differences on wages and outsourcing. But the changes in health coverage, even the increases, Adams can handle.

"We have excellent coverage," she said. Full story

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The Herald - Everett, Wash. - www.HeraldNet.com. Published: Thursday, October 9, 2008

Meridian Yachts to Shut Down; Hundreds to Lose Jobs

By Mike Benbow
Herald Writer

ARLINGTON -- Meridian Yachts, one of north Snohomish County’s largest employers, will close its doors within 60 days because of a dramatic decline in boat sales, employees were told today.

The company has more than 600 hourly employees, another 230 administrative positions and some research and development workers. Nearly all will lose their jobs.

“Our hearts go out to them,” said Dan Kubera, director of corporate relations for the Brunswick Corp., which owns the plant. “It’s a decision that had to be made.”

Kubera said the company planned to cut four plants next year and hastened that decision because of plummeting sales in July and August.

“At the first of the year, sales were down 30 percent,” he said. “In the last two months, sales have dropped 40 percent.” Full story

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Published in the Everett Herald: Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boeing Strike: Shades of 1995

By Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writer

EVERETT -- Outsourcing, medical benefits and a complaint to the labor board -- those are a few of the similarities that the Boeing Machinists' strike of 1995 shares with this year's walkout.

As the union's strike enters week two, observers look at history to try to gauge how long this work stoppage might last. Although no two labor strikes are the same, the Machinists' strike of 1995 offers some perspective on the importance of job security and health insurance in negotiations between the Boeing Co. and its Machinists union.

The strike of 1995 lasted 69 days, making it the union's second-longest strike against Boeing. Last week, Boeing's chief financial officer, James Bell, predicted this year's strike will last at least a month.

"There are still significant issues between us that we're going to have to address," Bell said at the Morgan Stanley 2008 Global Industrials CEOs Unplugged conference in Dana Point, Calif.

Machinists on the picket line in Everett say they're prepared to stay out as long as it takes.

"We will continue this fight 'one day longer' than the company can afford until they meet your demands," wrote Tom Wroblewski, district president of the International Association of Machinists, in a note to members.

Union leaders made similar pledges in 1995. Full story

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Published: Thursday, September 11, 2008 in the Everett Herald

Boeing Engineers Union Presents its Contract Proposal

By Eric Fetters and Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writers

The union representing the Boeing Co.'s engineers presented a contract proposal Wednesday that calls for bringing back technical work outsourced to contracts, a better health-care plan and pay increases.

The proposal from the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace is the first step toward negotiating a new pact for about 21,000 engineers and technical workers, mostly in the Puget Sound region.

SPEEA's contract with Boeing expires Dec. 1, with focused negotiations set to begin on Oct. 28.

The union proposal asks for up to 10 percent annual raises during each of the new contract's three years, better overtime pay and additional "controls on the use of all non-Boeing labor."

"They're all extremely important issues to our members right now," said union spokesman Bill Dugovich.

Boeing spokeswoman Karen Fincutter said the company hasn't had time for a detailed look at SPEEA's demands. Full story

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The Herald - Everett, Wash. - www.HeraldNet.com. Published: Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Impact of Machinists' strike starts to spread beyond Boeing

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

EVERETT -- The effects of grounding 27,000 Machinists started surfacing Monday just three days into a labor strike at the Boeing Co.

From Everett to Wichita, Kan., the initial effects of shutting down Boeing's aircraft factories hit suppliers and community members. Machinists continued their round-the-clock picketing, which began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday after contract negotiations between the union and Boeing failed.

No further contract talks have been scheduled, though both sides maintain they're open to discussions.

On Monday, Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems announced it would reduce production volumes on various Boeing parts. The Wichita, Kan.-based company supplies fuselage sections for Boeing's commercial aircraft, including producing a one-piece composite barrel for the 787 Dreamliner.

Spirit employees will see their workweeks reduced as a result of the slowed production.

"We are working closely with our customer and taking the necessary steps as we respond to an unfortunate situation," said Jeff Turner, Spirit's president, in a press statement. Full story

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The Herald - Everett, Wash. - www.HeraldNet.com. Published: Monday, August 25, 2008

Boeing Machinists Stand Firm

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

SEATAC -- The rain didn't dampen the spirits of rallying Boeing Machinists on Sunday, nor did it drown out their cries of "strike, strike, strike."

Thousands of Machinists braved the downpour to show Boeing that they're serious about a strike if the aerospace giant doesn't meet their demands in a three-year labor contract. Just 10 days before 24,000 Puget Sound area Machinists will vote on Boeing's offer, union members gathered at the SeaTac hotel where round-the-clock negotiations are being held. With chants of "power, power, power to the union," the Machinists rode motorcycles or marched down the street to get an update on contract talks from their leaders.

"We're going to win this damn thing by disrupting the shop floor," said Mark Blondin, aerospace coordinator for the international union.

The local district of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers doesn't put forward the threat of a strike lightly. The men and women who build Boeing's commercial jets withheld labor for 28 days from Boeing during the 2005 contract negotiations.

A strike would come at a tough time for Boeing. The company is struggling to get its new 787 Dreamliner jet on track after a delivery delay of at least 15 months. And Boeing has a record backlog of unfilled aircraft orders it needs to deliver on. Full story

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The Herald - Everett, Wash. - www.HeraldNet.com. Published: Saturday, August 23, 2008

Machinists Say Boeing's Offer Won't Fly

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

The Boeing Co. dangled wage increases and a bonus as its initial offer to its Machinists union Friday in hopes of signing a new contract and avoiding a labor strike.

In its second day of round-the-clock negotiations with the Machinists, the aerospace company has offered general wage increases, a $2,500 lump sum bonus and an incentive plan.

The existing contract with the Machinists union expires on Labor Day, Sept. 4. The union has threatened to launch a strike that day over the issues of pension, early retiree medical insurance and outsourcing.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents 24,000 Puget Sound-area workers who assemble Boeing commercial jets. The contract also covers Machinists in Portland, Ore., and Wichita, Kan. The union last staged a 28-day strike against the jetmaker in 2005.

Boeing withdrew its request to divide out the Wichita unit from the Puget Sound area bargaining unit. The Machinists previously identified Boeing's desire to carve Wichita out of this bargaining unit as an issue it would strike over.

Although Boeing eliminated one strike issue, it left three more in play. Full story

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Published in the Everett Herald: Thursday, July 17, 2008

Boeing Machinists Say They're Willing to Strike

By Michelle Dunlop, Herald Writer

SEATTLE -- Boeing Co. Machinists showed Wednesday that they're ready to strike should the union and the aerospace giant fail to come to terms on a new contract later this summer.

"Today, the Boeing plants around the Puget Sound are empty in a show of solidarity," said Tom Wroblewski, district president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers. "You have shut down the biggest aerospace company in the world. Without you, there are no Boeing airplanes."

Thousands of Machinists gathered at KeyArena to decide whether to give their negotiators the preliminary OK to strike should the labor group find Boeing's best contract offer unsatisfactory. Roughly 99 percent of the Machinists who attended meetings in Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Wichita, Kan., voted for the strike sanction. The Machinists will vote on Boeing's final proposal in early September and decide then whether to strike.

The strong showing of Machinists on Wednesday, however, should send Boeing a message: Its union members are united and determined, Wroblewski said.

Boeing spokesman Tim Healy said while the company understood the union's need to hold a vote, it was disappointed that the Machinists planned a number of associated activities that took workers away for the full day. Union members who voted received free admission to Seattle Center exhibits and museums.

Machinist Eddie Bjorgo stood near the entrance to KeyArena on Wednesday morning. With 18 years at Boeing under his belt, Bjorgo wanted to educate Machinists who are new to the union and handed out fliers outlining a generally shared concern: pay. The Machinist, who works in Everett, noted that Boeing's entry-level pay hasn't been boosted in years. And he feels that it takes too long for new Machinists to move up the pay scale. Full story


Published in the Everett Herald: June 18, 2008

GAO Upholds Boeing's Tanker Bid Protest

United States Government Accountability Office, Washington, DC 20548

Office of the Comptroller General of the United States

Statement Regarding the Bid Protest Decision Resolving the Aerial Refueling Tanker Protest by The Boeing Co.

B-311344 et al., June 18, 2008

The Boeing Company protested the award of a contract to Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation under solicitation No. FA8625-07-R-6470, issued by the Department of the Air Force, for KC-X aerial refueling tankers to begin replacing its aging tanker fleet. Boeing challenged the Air Force's technical and cost evaluations, conduct of discussions, and source selection decision.

Our Office sustained Boeing's protest on June 18, 2008. The 69-page decision was issued under a protective order, because the decision contains proprietary and source selection sensitive information. We have directed counsel for the parties to promptly identify information that cannot be publicly released so that we can expeditiously prepare and release, as soon as possible, a public version of the decision.

Although the Air Force intends to ultimately procure up to 179 KC-X aircraft, the solicitation provided for an initial contract for system development and demonstration of the KC-X aircraft and procurement of up to 80 aircraft. The solicitation provided that award of the contract would be on a "best value" basis, and stated a detailed evaluation scheme that identified technical and cost factors and their relative weights. With respect to the cost factor, the solicitation provided that the Air Force would calculate a "most probable life cycle cost" estimate for each offeror, including military construction costs. In addition, the solicitation provided a detailed system requirements document that identified minimum requirements (called key performance parameter thresholds) that offerors must satisfy to receive award. The solicitation also identified desired features and performance characteristics of the aircraft (which the solicitation identified as "requirements," or in certain cases, as objectives) that offerors were encouraged, but were not required, to provide.

The agency received proposals and conducted numerous rounds of negotiations with Boeing and Northrop Grumman. The Air Force selected Northrop Grumman's proposal for award on February 29, 2008, and Boeing filed its protest with our Office on March 11, supplementing it numerous times thereafter. In accordance with our Bid Protest Regulations, we obtained a report from the agency and comments on that report from Boeing and Northrop Grumman. The documentary record produced by the Air Force in this protest is voluminous and complex. Our Office also conducted a hearing, at which testimony was received from a number of Air Force witnesses to complete and explain the record. Following the hearing, we received further comments from the parties, addressing the hearing testimony as well as other aspects of the record. Full report

Rep. Larsen's Statement on GAO Decision Regarding the Air Force's Tanker Selection

Washington -- U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement on the Government Accountability Office (GAO)'s report out today on the Air Force's procurement process for the approximately $35 billion tanker program. Larsen's congressional district is home to Boeing's Everett plant, production site for the 767 airframe which Boeing would use to build the next generation of refueling tankers for our military.

"The report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) today is a huge victory for Boeing workers, American taxpayers, our nation's security, and a fair, transparent procurement process.

"When the Air Force announced their decision on February 29, they summed up their selection of the Airbus/EADS tanker in one word: "more", saying it offered "more passengers, more cargo, more fuel to offload."

If I could sum up this decision in one word it would be "more". Boeing offered a more cost-effective plane. The Air Force needed to have more transparency in this decision. And when the Air Force rebids this contract, we need to have a more fair process.

"The GAO has determined that the Air Force made a number of significant errors in their selection of the Airbus/EADS proposal. The Air Force failed to adequately evaluate the lower cost and greater capabilities of the Boeing tanker. They failed to follow their own criteria in evaluating the tankers' capabilities. And they failed to take into account the higher military construction costs of the Airbus/ EADS proposal.

"We still need to look at the broader implications of the Air Force's decision, including the damage the Air Force's selection will do to our defense industrial base and economy and the impact of illegal subsidies on the Airbus/EADS proposal. American taxpayers should not foot the bill for a product made in clear violation of WTO rules.

"In the coming days, I will work to ensure that the Air Force follow the GAO's recommendations to provide our men and women in our military with the best refueling tanker for our national security. I will work to make sure American taxpayers don't foot the bill for a less capable, more expensive and illegally-subsidized European tanker. And I will continue to fight for Boeing jobs and the investments that create them.

"I would encourage Members of the House who were waiting for the GAO to read this decision very carefully. I look forward to working with the Air Force and my colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee to make sure this process is done right the next time."


Published in the Everett Herald: Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Everett Teachers Union Files Charge Against District

By Eric Stevick
Herald Writer

EVERETT -- The Everett teachers union on Monday filed a complaint against the Everett School District, charging that the district committed an unfair labor practice by installing surveillance equipment in a teacher's classroom last year.

The Everett Education Association argued that the district had an obligation to notify the union about using surveillance equipment without notice and to bargain the issue.

Superintendent Carol Whitehead told the Everett School Board last week that she consulted with Assistant Superintendent Karst Brandsma about the use of a video camera before it was installed.

Brandsma authorized its use in the hallway near the teacher's classroom, but the camera was installed inside the classroom, Whitehead told the board.

The concealed camera was placed on the ceiling inside the classroom of Kay Powers, who was an English and journalism teacher at Cascade High School. Powers was suspended in June and fired in November for helping students publish an underground newspaper using district computers and equipment despite warnings not to do so.

Whitehead said the purpose of the camera was to determine who was entering and leaving the classroom on weekends and late in the evening to ensure the safety of a student.

Powers, 65, was reinstated after the district and the teachers union reached a settlement in April. She is now teaching English at Henry M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek.

Union officials said the district overstepped its legal bounds.

"It is a very serious issue and disturbing for all teachers as well as for this community" said Kim Mead, president of the Everett Education Association. "The association has never been notified or had opportunity to negotiate this issue."

The complaint was filed with the Public Employment Relations Commission in Olympia. A hearing officer is expected to be assigned the case.


Published in the Everett Herald: Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cascade High School Teacher Was Secretly Taped

Everett Schools Set Up Camera for Spying

 

By Eric Stevick, Herald Writer

A hidden camera secretly taped the classroom of a controversial Cascade High School teacher to find out if she was helping students work on an underground newspaper, Everett School District officials acknowledged Friday.

The video has since disappeared. And administrators have created rules for any future surveillance deemed necessary in the 18,000-student public school district.

The admission by Superintendent Carol Whitehead proves that the teachers union was right last month when it accused the district of spying on Kay Powers before she was fired. At the time, a lawyer for the school district denied the allegation.

On Friday, Whitehead told the district's 2,500 employees in a two-page letter that Deputy Superintendent Karst Brandsma authorized the taping.

"I was not aware that there was any video," she said in an interview. There was no audio taken by the camera, she added. To do so without prior consent from those being spied upon is illegal in Washington. Read full story


Published in the Everett Herald: Monday, May 12, 2008

A Man Without a Heartbeat: Everett Firefighter Waits for Transplant

STANWOOD -- Steve Goforth has a big heart and no pulse.

He sleeps plugged in to an electrical outlet.

Like most firefighters, he wears a pager. Only, when his beeps, it won't be to summon him to put out a blaze -- it will be because doctors have found him a new heart.

Goforth, 37, an Everett firefighter and paramedic, was diagnosed earlier this year with congestive heart failure. He's waiting for a heart transplant.

"It's rocked our world. Life as we know it at the Goforth family is no longer," said Julie Goforth, his wife.

Until a donor heart is found, a machine works like a water wheel inside his chest to keep the blood constantly flowing through his body. Since his heart muscle isn't contracting, there's no pulse to feel.

Goforth's two boys, ages 6 and 8, call him the bionic man.

He wears a shoulder harness to carry batteries that power the machine during the day. At night, Goforth plugs the device into the wall. Friends from the fire department helped the family set up a backup generator at their rural Stanwood home in case the power goes out.

The man who made a living helping people when they were sick now knows all too well what's it's like to be a patient.

While vacationing in Disneyland in December, Goforth started feeling a bit under the weather.

By early January, he thought he might have bronchitis or possibly pneumonia. When he coughed up blood, he knew something might be seriously wrong.

"It all happened very kind of suddenly," he said.

On Jan. 8, he went to the hospital and "things never got better after that," he said.

By mid-February, Steve's health continued to decline. He shook all day and vomited all night.

He felt so horrible he told his wife, "I'd rather be dead."

He was rushed by ambulance to Providence Everett Medical Center, then to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he spent about a week. Then doctors sent him to the University of Washington Medical Center to be cared for by cardiology specialists.

"Steve, your heart's no good," the doctors told him. "You need a transplant."

He didn't come home for a month. His heart was enlarged and it wasn't pumping blood through his body.

Doctors cut a foot-long incision in his chest to install a left ventricular assist device, the machine that moves the blood through his veins until a donor heart becomes available. They told him it could take up to a year or longer to find a match.

The medical experts don't know what caused his heart to fail, Julie Goforth said.

Now, as he's waiting for a new heart, he requires round-the-clock company in case something goes wrong. The medical bills, which already have tallied around $700,000, are still mounting, his wife said. The health insurance policy caps out at $2 million.

Friends and relatives are rallying around the family.

Each of the 182 members of the Everett firefighter's union have donated $100, and several co-workers have donated vacation time to extend Goforth's sick leave, said union president Capt. Robert Downey.

"We're just praying that everything comes out OK and that he gets a new heart soon," Downey said.

Other friends have organized benefit softball games and barrel races and some friends have built a Web site, www.firemansheart.org.

"It's been humbling," Goforth said.

The paramedic said he was used to helping people. Now he said he knows what it's like to be the patient.

"You realize what a scary feeling it is," he said.

Ten years ago people diagnosed with congestive heart failure would be confined to a hospital bed, Goforth said.

"I'm at home watching my kid's baseball game," he said. He's surrounded by friends and his two cats and four dogs.

Once a transplant heart is found, the road to good health isn't clear.

He'll be required to take an expensive medication to fight off rejection and it's unclear if he'll be able to return to work as a firefighter, his wife said.

Still, the Goforths are thankful for the support they've received. Despite the hardship, the illness has brought blessings, he said.

"I've seen the kindness of humans," Steve Goforth said. "It seems like you see the best of people."

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Published in the Everett Herald: Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fired Everett Teacher 'Delighted' With Deal

Kay Powers Reached a Settlement With the Everett School District That Will Let Her Teach

 

By Eric Stevick
Herald Writer

EVERETT-- Kay Powers was supposed to be going to a rally of her supporters Friday, but it became a congratulation party instead.

The fired Cascade High School English and journalism teacher informed her friends, colleagues and former students that she had reached a settlement with the Everett School District earlier in the afternoon to return to the classroom.

Otherwise, Powers and her lawyers from the Everett Education Association would have squared off against the district at a three-day hearing that was supposed to begin today.

"I am delighted with the settlement," she said Monday. "To be fired and reinstated is a big deal."

Under the agreement, the 65-year-old Powers will resign effective Aug. 31, 2009, and will not teach journalism.

Powers said the agreement had everything she wanted. She will teach English at Henry M. Jackson High School beginning next week.

Powers also wanted to return to the Everett district where she has worked for 22 years.

School district officials said the settlement provides 10 days for her return. With state WASL testing going on this week, Powers is expected back at school April 25, said Mary Waggoner, a school district spokeswoman.

"I would like to put journalism aside for a while," Powers said, adding "I know it's time for younger people to take over."

It was an issue over a student newspaper that got Powers in trouble with the district.

She was accused of helping students produce an underground paper, The Free Ste­hekin, during school hours and on school computers despite being warned not to do so. She was placed on administrative leave in June and fired in November.

In the firing letter, Superintendent Carol Whitehead outlined several reasons for Powers' dismissal, saying the teacher violated district policies and Whitehead's directives.

After firing Powers, the school district filed a report with the state's Office of Professional Practices, which could have led to the revocation of her teaching credentials. District officials said they were following legal requirements in filing the report.

As part of the deal reached Friday, the district agreed to notify the state agency that the matter has been resolved. Attempts to reach the Office of Professional Practices for comment about what happens next were not returned Monday.

Powers also will receive back pay.

Journalism teachers from across the state were monitoring Powers' situation, said Vince DeMiero, an English, journalism and photography teacher at Mountlake Terrace High School.

The case had "some young journalism teachers thinking, 'Is this what I want to get into?' " he said. "I would qualify it more as a sigh of relief than something you would feel emboldened about. At least this is a step in the right direction."

Powers said she appreciated the help from her union, lawyers and co-workers to get her job back. Many wore buttons and T-shirts and were prepared to use personal leave days to attend the hearing.

Powers said she doesn't know if she will try to teach after next year.

"It's hard to say," she said. "At the age of 67, I might be raring to go again."

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or e-mail stevick@heraldnet.com.


Published in the Seattle Times: April 2, 2008

Boeing is Right to Protest the Tanker Decision

By Bob Drewel
Special to The Seattle Times

As a region, we cannot afford to leave these questions unanswered. The balancing effect of military contracts to support our often cyclical civilian aircraft production lines is important. The civilian aviation market is much more susceptible to booms and busts than is the military market. Our aerospace workers need work in both the good times and the rough ones - and the award of the Air Force tanker project would have given them just that.

Without the tanker award, the 767 assembly line in Everett will shut down perhaps as early as 2012. With the award, it will likely continue to 2018 or later and allow the 767 to continue picking up new orders for civilian freighters as the need for midsized reliable freight aircraft continues to grow.

With so many of the suppliers for the 767 based in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, as well as around the state, it is important for the future economic health of both the central Puget Sound region and the entire state of Washington to extend the 767 line as long as possible.

With a Boeing tanker award, the American people would have ended up with a higher quality, lower cost product for the U.S. taxpayers and less military spending on infrastructure; plus, we would be keeping primarily American workers working during good times and bad.

With the Airbus win, we are costing the U.S. taxpayers more, putting billions in new investment capital in Europe and keeping primarily European workers working in good times and bad.

With all this in mind, we in this state need to think long term about our economy. While it is true that we here in Washington are in a healthy time compared to much of the country now, there are many factors that, without work on our part, could lead to hard times ahead. A robust aerospace sector in Washington is much more beneficial to the United States than a healthy aerospace sector in France and other European nations, with a small assembly facility in Mobile, Ala.

Bob Drewel is the executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, the chairman of the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington, and a former Snohomish County executive.


Published in the Everett Herald: April 1, 2008. Posted April 2, 2008

SPEEA Seeks Information About Boeing's Use of Foreign Workers

SEATTLE -- Concerned about continuing efforts to increase the number of foreign workers allowed at U.S. companies, the union representing engineers and technical workers at The Boeing Company is seeking detailed information about the number of employees working technical jobs at Boeing through federal visa programs.

Today, (April 1) the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, submitted a formal request for the data to Boeing. In addition to the number of foreign workers, the request seeks information on the process used to renew visas and the treatment of foreign workers by the company.

Today, April 1, is the day the federal government takes applications for the 65,000 H-1B visas issued by lottery.

Supporters for the visa programs claim foreign workers are needed to keep U.S. industry competitive. However, union officials said companies use the visas to bring in workers who will work for lower wages. When the workers return home, they take with them high-tech knowledge, skills and experience that undermines U.S. competitiveness.

According to union records, about 50 workers on H-1B or TN (trade NAFTA) visas perform work that could be done by U.S. citizens. Additionally, about 300 contractors from Russia work under the B-1 (business) visa program.

"We are concerned that the drive to increase the number of foreign workers is based less on need and more on the desire for lower-cost labor," said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. "Moreover, when these visa holders return to their home countries they take key skills and abilities to Boeing's overseas competitors."

In October, SPEEA begins main table negotiations with Boeing for 21,000 employees in Washington, Kansas, Oregon, Utah and California. Negotiations begin in May for 3,000 represented employees at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. in Wichita, Kansas.

A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents more than 24,000 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit, Triumph Composite Systems, Inc., in Spokane, Wash., and at BAE Systems, Inc., in Irving, Texas.


Published in the Everett Herald: March 30, 2008

SPEEA Tells Boeing to Bring Back More Outsourced 787 Work

SEATTLE--The Boeing Company's decision to buy a large stake in a major supplier's U.S. plant for the 787 is a necessary first step to bringing work back to the experienced employees who can get the program back on schedule, according to the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001.

"We are hopeful this is an indication that the company realizes that not just anyone can engineer, design and build these very complex aerospace products," said Ray Goforth, executive director of the union representing engineers and technical workers at Boeing. "Our members have been saying for some time that this global network is not working."

Boeing announced today (March 28) plans to buy Vought Aircraft Industries' interest in Global Aeronautica LLC, owner of the South Carolina plant that will assemble major portions of the fuselage for the 787 Dreamliner. The purchase will make the assembly plant a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Italy's Alenia Aeronautica.

Employees working on the 787 program have voiced concerns about unnecessary rework required on parts coming in from outside Boeing. In some areas, employees are working 20 to 40 percent overtime and traveling frequently to help suppliers. SPEEA members at the former Boeing plant in Wichita, now operated by Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., have expressed the same concerns.

"The existing employees know how to do this work and should be doing the work," said Goforth. "If the company does not correct this failed model, they will lose the younger people who are the future of aerospace."

In October, SPEEA begins main table negotiations with Boeing for 21,000 employees in Washington, Kansas, Oregon, Utah and California. Negotiations begin in May for 3,000 represented employees at Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. in Wichita, Kansas.

A local of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), SPEEA represents more than 24,000 aerospace professionals at Boeing, Spirit, Triumph Composite Systems, Inc., in Spokane, Wash., and at BAE Systems, Inc., in Irving, Texas.


Published in the Everett Herald: March 20, 2008

Boeing Machinists Say Tanker Decision is 'Outsourcing Our Future'

Lawmakers are urged to block Air Force Tanker Deal in a Rally in Everett.

By Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writer

EVERETT -- Angry over a Pentagon decision that they say jeopardizes American jobs, Boeing Co. workers plan to "take it to the streets."

They started on Wednesday with a rally supporting efforts to overturn the U.S. Air Force's award of a $35 billion tanker contract to Northrop Grumman and Airbus parent, EADS. Boeing machinists and engineers had hoped to supply the government with KC-767 tanker, assembled in Everett. Instead, they're pushing lawmakers to take up their fight.

"We're going to hold the government's feet to the fire on this one," said Susan Palmer, with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Palmer was the Machinists' business representative for the 767 line for nine years and serves as district secretary-treasurer.

Boeing Machinists and engineers crammed into a crowded union hall Wednesday afternoon near Boeing's factory in Everett to hear from union officials, Washington's governor and the state's congressional delegation. Carrying signs with slogans like "We build it better" and "Not with MY tax $" Boeing workers took turns answering rally cries of "What do we want? -- Tankers."

"Our government isn't just outsourcing our plane, it's outsourcing our future," Palmer said. Read full story