The week ended with the entire Boeing employee group getting a message from corporate CEO Jim McNerney concerning the grounding of the 787; and a message to company engineers from the union, SPEEA, outlining the preparations for a strike vote.
First, McNerney’s message:
The 787 and our commitment to safety
I’m confident in the 787 because I’m confident in Boeing people.
This week the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and international regulatory agencies temporarily suspended 787 commercial flights in response to two widely reported in-service incidents with the airplane’s batteries that have called into question the safety of the 787 fleet.
As everyone inside the company knows, nothing is more important to us than the safety of the passengers, pilots and crew members who fly aboard Boeing commercial and military aircraft. We also understand the importance of maintaining the confidence of customers and the flying public in the safety of the overall global air transportation system and the Boeing products that operate within it.
We have high confidence in the safety of the 787 and stand squarely behind its integrity as the newest addition to our product family. We are working around the clock to support the FAA, our customers, and others in the investigations, and we’ve committed to make available all Boeing resources to help find answers as quickly as possible. In short, in the days ahead, we will take the steps necessary to assure our customers and their passengers of the 787’s safety and to return the airplanes to service.
Despite the negative news attention over the past several days, I remain tremendously proud of employees across the company for the decade of effort that has gone into designing, developing, building, and delivering the most innovative commercial airplane ever imagined. Since entering service 15 months ago, the 787 fleet has completed 18,000 flights and 50,000 flight hours with eight airlines, carrying more than 1,000,000 passengers safely to destinations around the world. While the 787’s dispatch reliability rate is on par with the best-in-class introduction of the 777, we will not be satisfied until the 787 meets the even higher standard of performance we set for it and promised to our customers.
My confidence in the future of the 787 is underpinned by my trust and confidence in you, the men and women of Boeing who have worked so hard, for so long, to deliver this game-changing new airplane to the world’s airlines. Time and again, you have risen to both the challenges inherent to fundamental innovation, and the day-to-day problem-solving that is part of every new product introduction.
As we learn more about the specific events in question and the plan to return to flight, we will be sure to pass them along to you. Until then, keep up the great work on behalf of our customers and Boeing.
Below is a message from SPEEA to its members:
The SPEEA Northwest Bargaining Unit Councils will meet Tuesday to formally authorize printing and mailing the contract ballots to SPEEA members. Ballots will go out to approximately 15,550 employees in the Professional Unit (engineers) and 7,400 employees in the Technical Unit. It will take several days for printing and mailing after the Councils authorize the ballots. Members then have 10 days to cast their vote. (If this schedule holds counting by the Northwest Tellers would be Feb. 7.)
Lunchtime meetings are being scheduled around Boeing worksites for Negotiation Team members to present the offers and their recommendations to SPEEA members.
Boeing should settle as quickly as possible with SPEEA so that everyone, at each level, can freely concentrate on the Dreamliner crisis.
I heard a lot of Engineers have good things to say about the contract today……
In 2003- and a few other years- I presented a shareholder proposal on Pension issues to Boeing. In those days, if the company did not like a word in your proposal, they would get the SEC to force you to change or drop it – and if not, they would not have to publish your proposal.
Here is a portion of what I proposed for the 2003 annual meeting- and made it past the censors – and got about 50 million votes that year
It fits even today- but is rearranged..
In their February 23, 1998 message to shareholders, Boeing said “A company, any company, is nothing more or less than the people who make it up.” We believe Boeing should “walk their talk” in pension issues.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request the Board of Directors adopt the following policy:
(1) All EMPLOYEES vested at time of conversion be given a choice between their Heritage plans or the Pension
Value cash-balance plan at time of their termination or retirement.
(2) The cash balance plan to provide a monthly annuity at least equal to that expected under the old pension plan,
or an actuarially equivalent lump sum.
Boeing implemented the Pension Value Plan (PVP) in 1999 for over 100,000 non-represented employees. Although
the PVP is primarily one of benefit formula change, Boeing has previously claimed it could not comply with
eligibility, vesting, benefit and funding requirements by giving employees a choice at retirement or termination. We
believe, however, that the Company can allow such a choice, as other companies like Kodak, 3M, Motorola, Delta
Airlines, and AT&T have done.
The Company’s pension plan documents state that gains arising from experience under the Plan will not serve to
increase the benefits otherwise due any participant but will be used to reduce future Company contributions.”
Boeing, like many corporations, legally improves earnings with non-spendable pension gains based on anticipated
pension fund returns.
And part of the company response then was
The PVP preserves all benefits earned under the former plans, and allows these benefits to continue growing in
proportion to the employee’s salary.
Š Employees began earning new benefits under the PVP formula immediately upon the PVP’s implementation
rather than having a “wear-away” transition period before they could accrue any new benefits under the cashbalance
Š The PVP increases the percentage of pay that is credited to the employee’s cash-balance “account” as the
employee’s age increases. Thus, the PVP gives the Company’s oldest employees nearly four times more benefit
credits each year than their youngest counterparts receive.
But as proven with the current negotiations
The company didn’t learn anything from the last SPEEA strike either