Odds and Ends: PNAA Aviation Conference; AA-US merger review; UAVs in USA; SPEEA-Boeing; 2013, Part 2

PNAA Conference: The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance holds its annual conference Feb. 12-14 in Lynnwood (WA), north of Seattle. This event is now the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and the first or second largest of its kind on the West Coast. The top airframe manufacturers present, along with key aerospace analysts (including the ever-entertaining Richard Aboulafia) and key suppliers. There is a Suppliers Fair and this year for the first time a focus day on the airline industry. Follow PNAA @pnaalliance on Twitter.

American-US Airways merger review: This should be concluded within weeks, says AMR CEO Tom Horton.

UAVs in USA: Rules on the use of UAVs within the US are emerging and vary widely throughout the world.

SPEEA and Boeing: A reminder that SPEEA contract negotiations resume with Boeing next week on January 9. Based on conversations with SPEEA, we don’t expect things to go well. SPEEA told us–and pretty much anyone else–that it believes the gap between it and Boeing is so wide that it expects talks to break off quickly. A strike vote will follow and a target date for a strike is February 1. SPEEA filed another Unfair Labor Practice complaint this week over Boeing taking pictures of SPEEA marchers at the Everett plant.

The year ahead, Part 2: Earlier we posted our Leeham.net look at 2013. Here’s what we did for CNN.com, in a somewhat broader look.

16 comments on “Odds and Ends: PNAA Aviation Conference; AA-US merger review; UAVs in USA; SPEEA-Boeing; 2013, Part 2

  1. So SPEEA is already saying the upcoming contract negotiations are DOA? That tells me the union does not want to negotiate with Boeing and is demanding more that the IAW has in their contract. SPEEA’s ULP complaint of Boeing taking the pictures holds no water since CNN.com published a similar picture.

    I really hope AA decides not to merge with US. If they did, that would be a big mistake for both carriers and their unions.

    • So you have some intrinsic knowledge? Or just spitballing? Oh, and CNN isn’t Speea’s employer… biiiig difference.

      • Howard :
        So you have some intrinsic knowledge? Or just spitballing? Oh, and CNN isn’t Speea’s employer… biiiig difference.

        perhaps you missed this, Howard;

        “SPEEA and Boeing: A reminder that SPEEA contract negotiations resume with Boeing next week on January 9. Based on conversations with SPEEA, we don’t expect things to go well. SPEEA told us–and pretty much anyone else–that it believes the gap between it and Boeing is so wide that it expects talks to break off quickly. A strike vote will follow and a target date for a strike is February 1. SPEEA filed another Unfair Labor Practice complaint this week over Boeing taking pictures of SPEEA marchers at the Everett plant.”

        But, you are right, the SPEEA employees work for an airplane OEM, not a “news” organization. I’m sure Boeing has no capability to watch their employees on CNN……NOT.

        Don, you are right about the Boeing Stock, by them buying it the value will increase.

        But I disagree with you on the proposed strike. A strike threat, and even the stike vote are negotiation tactics. The company can take the threat seriously and bend a little during the talks. But once the walk-out begins, the strike is now a failed tactic. Strikes costs millions for the union, and lost wages by stiking union members can never be made up, no matter what the final agreement brings. Yes, the stike could cost Boeing billions. But Boeing has the deep pockets here and can weather the strike better than the union or its members. Yes, in some states, like Washington, striking uniion members can collect unemployment benefits due to being on strike. This type of law must be changed in these bad economic times. States and taxpayers can illafford to pay someone unemployment benefits who walked off a job and was no laid-off through no fault of their own. The strikers make a choice to support union negotiations and not their families, instead asking the states to pick up some of that tab.

  2. I hope AA doesn’t merge either…..at least not in the current situation. I would like to see AA eventually as the acquirer sometime when US stock (and company) is in a weaker position. AA coming out of BK will be in a much stronger position. It is already reaping the benefits of its various cost reductions.

    As has been mentioned on other boards, US has a lot of debt coming due. Its pilot’s situation between US-East and US-West completely hasn’t been sorted out.

    • Once you go into Chapter 11, you’re no longer in the driver’s seat. AA’s shareholders paid the price (as did the unions and the creditors, to a lesser extent), and now the debtors are in charge.

      I don’t know whether US taking over AA is better or worse than AA taking over US (I have no love lost for either airline) but beggars can’t be choosers. This is the risk you take when you choose the Chapter 11 path.

  3. Kc135 and Lee – from what I hear, the SPEEA grunts are very un happy with the Pension scam proposed by Boeing, and also the medical increases such that even with a two-3 percent average salary increase, takehome will decrease.

    Another point- There is a lot of procedural items that need to happen before an actual walkout-strike can happen. Even assuming that by mid jan a vote is taken to authorize the N- team to call a strike, a FEB 1 date is next to impossible. Mid Feb is a more pragmatic target date. The procedures are not secret if anyone bothered to look at the governing documents available on line at the speea site . While I can understand why the press may not want to dig that deep, it is a continuing puzzle- surprise why the so called SPEEA leader who puts out such flapdoodle and miss- information has yet to do so. Hopefully there are enough old hands around to keep things properly moving and making the necessary arrangements should a strike be needed.

    Boeing seems to have the same kind of problem- the current crop of power point rangers in the corner offices seem to be equally clueless. BA cannot afford to pay a few $$$, but can afford to buy back a few millions/ billions of stock as they have already said. Which raises an interesting question. A strike will for sure drop the stock price. More stock per $$ can be bought back. More stock bought back will eventually raise the price and earnings/dividends per share outstanding, look good on the books, give more $$ to the executives- while meanwhile stirring up the anti union crowd.

    After all, the prime purpose of Boeing is to make money, not build airplanes- which are just a so far nearly unique method to do so.

      • Lee was poor shorthand for Leeham which I know knew = Scott – My bubu for early AM attempt at shorthand

        leehamnet :
        “Kc135 and Lee”
        Who is “Lee,” Don???
        Scott

    • Don, I agree that Boeing could easily afford to settle this now, maybe by conceding just the health plan and pension changes, a far smaller cost than that of a strike. Is this possibly a case of being penny wise but pound foolish?

  4. Hey topboom . . .” Strikes costs millions for the union ” .. Dont know where you get such misinformation as regards the SPEEA strike issues and costs.

    As to unemployment benefits while on strike – please source that comment also.

    And for thysi – YEP but just plain old incompetence and stupidity is a more apt explanation, except for the eventual payoff to the current crop of clowns in the corner office.
    By the time ” payback ‘” on the equivalent of a corporate credit card ( called program accounting ) comes around, ( say 10 years or so just for the 787 fiasco ) those same ” I’ve got mine ” clowns will have been retired with their platinum parachutes – and their successors will be left holding the bag.

    • Don Shuper, the union looses money because it is NOT collecting thos union dues normally witheld from an employees pay check. Some unions pay “strike pay” to walk the picket line, some run ads, including full page ads, in newspapers and industry magazines (both local and national) about how “unfair” the company is.

      On unemployment benefits:

      http://www.ehow.com/info_8446270_union-can-collect-unemployment-benefits.html

      “Exceptions

      Most states leave you eligible to receive unemployment benefits during a labor dispute if the employer has initiated a lockout, although some states do not make this allowance. A few states allow you to be eligible for benefits if you are part of a strike that hinges on your employer’s failure to abide by provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, or state and federal labor laws relating to wages, hours, collective bargaining rights and health and safety issues in the workplace.

      Read more: If Your Union Strikes, Can You Collect Unemployment Benefits? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8446270_union-can-collect-unemployment-benefits.html#ixzz2H3EhJMwh

      So all the union has to do is begin the process to hold the company liable for “failure to abide by provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, or state and federal labor laws relating to wages, hours, collective bargaining rights and health and safety issues in the workplace”.

      So, it is possible states could be asked to pay unemployment benefits. With all the bought and paid for politicians by unions, tis is no problem at all for them to claim.

      Who cares what the company senior management makes, or their contracted exit/severance compensation? At many companies they are actually ‘contract employees’, thus they negotiate their own contracts and compensation. The BoD approves or disapproves the contact. James McNerney was paid a $1.9M dollar sallary in 2010, but why does it matter to anyone other than Mr. McNerny and Boeing? James Albaugh was paid some $1.5M for his service at BCA. Mr. Albaugh was replaced by Ray Conner, so what does it mater what kind of exit/severance package he got when he finally left in October?

      Many of the Boeing engineers represented by SPEEA already make six figuer salaries. But they cannot afford to contribute to their own future retirement and pay some of heir own health care costs? Give me a break? SPEEA will find no simpathy here.

      • As usual- you are conflating a bunch of generalities –

        SpecIfically – About 18000 of the 23000 feepayers and members are involved- dues are # 38.47 month- using higher math as in multiplying = 692,000 month in dues.

        However the company may or can ( according to NLRB recent rulings ) continue to deduct dues and pay to union, and then tag the members pay when they return.

        Also – I asked for specifics – so please quote or find the STATE law in washington state – and/or the supporting federal law/ruling that allows the strikers – specifically in washington state which applies – AND specifially to the possible case at hand.

        Keep in mind that the contract was terminated last November in accordance with all rules and regulations.

        translation of the above – is simple – It is not only the BA corner office types who are clueless.

      • KC and others, Washington State’s rules may have changed by now, but when SPEEA’s techs and engineers went on strike in 2000, none of us could collect unemployment. Also, SPEEA did not have a strike fund, so we were on our own financially. Some of us picked up some extra $$$ working for the U.S. Census Bureau or elsewhere. Nevertheless we stayed out six weeks and won – probably the most successful white-collar strike in US labor history.

        One more thing – not all SPEEA engineers get six-figure salaries and not all SPEEA members are engineers; many are Techs, making considerably less for very similar work but unable to advance because despite having a lot of the same knowledge and skills as the engineers, they don’t have the all-important Bachelor’s [or higher] engineering degree.

  5. Scott, I can’t wait for all this nonsense with the SPPEA contract to be over with.
    It seems that all anybody can do these days is argue and not get the right things accomplished. I am a SPEEA represented Engineer at Boeing and I am sick of both Boeing and SPEEA. I just want to build airplanes but I guess it’s just not that simple.
    I’ve got a lot more to say but I’m just disgusted right now.

    • Boeing and its employees have worked very hard since the Dreamliner debacle to regain the number one position in terms of aircraft deliveries. This is just one reason among several others to devote considerable attention to the SPEEA conflict. All the hard work of recent years could be destroyed in one voting day.

  6. zrhohero :
    Scott, I can’t wait for all this nonsense with the SPPEA contract to be over with.
    It seems that all anybody can do these days is argue and not get the right things accomplished. I am a SPEEA represented Engineer at Boeing and I am sick of both Boeing and SPEEA. I just want to build airplanes but I guess it’s just not that simple.
    I’ve got a lot more to say but I’m just disgusted right now.

    HMMM- it is VERY rare for an Engineer to do hands on work such as building airplanes. Planning, processing, monitoring, designing tools, airplane parts, test rigs,, research, wind tunnel testing, analysis, data management, etc are more typical.

    The salary you got when you joined, and the benefits you now have were the specific result of past SPEEA actions. Those who follow my post know that I have a dim view of many of the SPEEA staff, and a few members. But overall, I support SPEEA and the good things it does.

    I suggest IF you really have a problem with SPEEA, simply contact any of the N-team directly, the president, or any Board member with your issues.

    IF you are sick of Boeing, ditto the to management.

    An alternative would be to get involved, volunteer for a committee, picket captain, or let it be known of your willingness to help on the picket line, eetc

    But in any case – VOTE when you have the opportunity.

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