Work Moving & Outsourcing
On March 4, 2019, Seal Beach aerospace professionals employed at Boeing announced they are forming a union to make their workplace even better. One of the concerns they would like to address by joining together in union is work moving out of Seal Beach and outsourcing.
Currently, work is leaving SoCal and professional aerospace employees have no ability to provide input when Boeing decides to outsource work. Often, employees are required to train their replacements and they are unable to make change through individual complaints.
Through collective action, SPEEA members at other Boeing facilities and aerospace companies have successfully turned back and/or lessened the impact of work movements:
Contract protects jobs: SPEEA members at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas were able to save 80 supply chain analysts positions in 2016 because of their union contract. Specifically, the SPEEA-Spirit contract requires the company to inform employees of outsourcing plans involving 20 or more jobs, as well as give SPEEA members a chance to provide options. After learning about Spirit’s intention to outsource, SPEEA members were able to develop a plan that helped save money and jobs.
Lessening the impact: When Boeing decided to move defense work from Wichita to Oklahoma City, non-union employees were on their own dealing with losing their jobs. Because the engineers were represented by SPEEA, the union invoked the contractual right to engage in “effects bargaining.” Effects bargaining doesn’t change the underlying decision to outsource, but it does allow SPEEA members to bargain and lessen the impact of the outsourcing and can change how employees are impacted. During bargaining, SPEEA members secured a cash-out of vacation balances, premium pay for excessive overtime (straight time plus $15 per hour), expedited unemployment insurance processing, waivers for any repayment responsibility for Boeing funded education, and relocation allowances.
Outsourcing stopped: In 2003 and 2004, Boeing Commercial Aviation Services (CAS) planned to outsource maintenance manual and service bulletin writing, illustration, and publishing to a low-cost country. The plan included eliminating 270 jobs. With their collective voice, SPEEA members explained to CAS leadership that the differences in language fluency, times zones, and work culture made outsourcing risky for Boeing and its customers. CAS leadership saw merit in these arguments and agreed to keep the work at Boeing.
Saving Spokane: SPEEA members were able to use their collective power to save the work at a Boeing facility in Spokane, Wash. SPEEA members collaborated with another union— IAM 751— and held rallies at the plant that were supported by local, state, and federal officials. The campaign to save the plant included putting pressure on Boeing at their headquarters in Chicago. In the end, the campaign was successful as Boeing changed its plan from closing the plant in Spokane and instead sold it to Triumph Composite Systems where SPEEA members were about to negotiate a contract.
With a union, aerospace employees have a voice and visibility in the process to address issues with outsourcing.
Also, be sure to check out CREATE’s flyer on working moving and outsourcing.