Frequently Asked Questions
What is a union?
A union is a group of employees who come together to negotiate with their employer their wages, benefits, and working conditions. The employees are the union—they democratically elect leaders to oversee their union’s affairs and conduct negotiations with their employer.
What is SPEEA?
The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) is a union of more than 20,000 aerospace professionals. Members include engineers, technical workers, pilots and other aerospace professionals. Members work at The Boeing Company, Spirit AeroSystems, and Triumph Composite Systems. SPEEA is a democratic organization run by and for its members.
Is SPEEA a third party or outside organization?
NO! We (SPEEA members) are aerospace employees who join together to have a legally protected right to work with our employers to improve our workplaces. If you and your colleagues choose to form a union, you decide what to negotiate to improve your workplace. Every workplace is unique, and employees are part of finding solutions that work for them at their own worksite.
How is the California Region Engineers And Technical Employees (CREATE) connected to SPEEA?
Employees from Seal Beach contacted SPEEA to help them form their union. Workers decided it was important to have a local identity and came up with the name CREATE (California Region Engineer And Technical Employees) to represent all technical and professional employees at the site.
Workers decided not to be a stand-alone union (as was the former Southern California Professional Engineering Association (SCPEA)) and to join an existing, well-established labor union with experience working with Boeing employees and management. SPEEA currently represents Boeing professional aerospace workers across the country including the Puget Sound and in Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base. By working with SPEEA, CREATE can benefit from the expertise of its union leaders, staff and members to help gain representation and a great contract.
I don’t work at Seal Beach; how can I get involved in CREATE?
If you are a Boeing employee in Southern California but do not work at Seal Beach, we encourage you to complete a survey and tell us about issues or concerns at your worksite. We will follow up with you and connect you to other peers who have contacted us.
Do we have a right to form a union?
YES! Federal law protects employees exercising their workplace rights to organize and join a union. Without the protections of a legally binding union contract, employees today can be laid off or fired for any, or no, reason. With a contract, our employer needs to have “Just Cause” for dismissing an employee. If layoffs are needed by the company, a union ensures they are done fairly, and employees have a say in the process.
Why do we need a union?
Professionals have employment contracts. Boeing executives, athletes and many other professionals have employment contracts that outline pay, benefits and working conditions. Why should we be any different? We are in an era of record low unemployment, yet companies like Boeing continue to cut back on employee benefits. Having a strong collective voice is the only way to stop future cuts from happening and to make sure employees’ ideas for solutions are part of future benefits, wages and working conditions.
How will the company react to our effort to form a union?
Corporations know when employees join together to negotiate, they are often successful in improving their pay, benefits and working conditions. It’s typical for employers to be hesitant about opening up decision-making to employee involvement.
Management will likely hold meetings to dissuade employees from forming a union. The company will share lots of information with employees in an effort to keep us from working together. The company will likely call the union a “third-party” instead of the reality of the union being employees in the workplace. Ultimately, the decision about forming a union is made by employees, not managers.
It’s important to remember unions improve employee-management relations in the long run. Aerospace professionals represented by SPEEA are able to collaborate with their colleagues and management with results that benefit everyone.
How do we form a union?
Aerospace professionals interested in improving their workplace by joining together as a union with their colleagues can learn more about the steps to form a union by contacting SPEEA. Ultimately, employees drive the process by determining priorities, educating co-workers, planning for votes and helping to negotiate a contract. For more information and help with next steps, contact a SPEEA Organizer.
Visit the California Region Engineers and Technical Employees (CREATE) page for more specific information about employees organizing in Southern California.
How much are SPEEA's dues?
Dues cover the cost of representing and providing services to the represented employees. This includes contract negotiations, legal services and training for members. Union dues are NOT used to make political donations. Currently, SPEEA members' monthly dues for 2019 are $48.70 (85% of the average hourly wage of members).
No dues are collected until our first contract is negotiated and approved by a vote of the membership. SPEEA does not have an initiation fee.
Can we lose our benefits if we form a union?
Joining together as a union with coworkers is the best way to protect the benefits you have and make workplace gains.
When you and your colleagues sit down to negotiate a union contract, you start with your existing pay and benefits and work with your employer to make improvements. The improvements you and your employer agree upon are written into a legally binding contract, meaning they are guaranteed through the life of the contract.