SPEEA rep on
SPEEA Labor Representative Stan Sorscher will serve on the Labor Advisory Committee for the U. S. Trade Representative (USTR).
AFL-CIO Trade Specialist Celeste Drake
recruited Sorscher to apply for the appointment,
serving as delegate for IFPTE President Greg
The USTR’s 28 advisory committees are meant
to ensure U. S. trade policy and trade negotiating
objectives adequately reflect public and private
The Labor Advisory Committee includes representatives from 25 nationwide labor organizations,
including machinists, airline pilots and others.
“SPEEA members are 100% in favor of trade.
We make products the rest of the world wants
to buy,” said Sorscher, who is a staff focal for
legislative issues. “We would gladly support a
trade policy that does as much for workers and
their communities as it does for investors and
Continued on page 11
SPEEA shares career opportunities
with laid-off members
SPEEA recently invited Puget Sound laid-off members to learn about a new opportunity to land mid-level jobs in the technology industry.
About 60 came to the halls for an overview about
Apprenti, an apprenticeship program that includes
paid on-the-job training for vetted apprentices.
The Washington Technology Industry Association,
an industry group, launched Apprenti about a year
ago. This is the only apprenticeship program registered with the Washington State Department of
Labor and Industries that supports Information
After the Apprenti presentation, a representative
of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, gave a brief overview of Trade Adjustment
Assistance ( Trade Act) for retraining and related
benefits at SPEEA Tukwila and Everett.
Apprenticeship has long been the gold-standard
of job training for trade-specific careers. In
Washington, registration with the Department
of Labor & Industries requires a minimum num-
ber of hours for both classroom-related training
and on-the-job training as well as an employment
relationship for the apprentice throughout the
program. Apprenticeship training is most com-
monly associated with the construction trades
but is growing rapidly to other occupations.
Breaking ground in a new industry in
Washington, the Apprenti model links vetted
apprentices with a specific job opening at a
participating tech-sector employer. From there,
Apprenti provides specialized training for the job
(two to five months) and the employer provides
paid on-the-job training for an additional year.
In most cases, the apprentice is hired afterwards
and makes the full wage of someone entering that
job at that level. The average age of a current
Apprenti apprentice is thirty-three. However,
many are in their fifties.
If you are interested in a copy of the Apprenti
presentation or want to share feedback about a
related (e.g. layoff) experience, contact Chelsea
Orvella, SPEEA staff, at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Job opportunities and other re-employment
information, including Trade Act, can be found
at SPEEA’s website ( www.speea.org) under
Member Tools/Layoff Information.
Own your union - ‘it’s member run’
By Karen McLean
SPEEA Publications Editor
EVERETT - Want to know more about SPEEA from an early to mid-career per- spective?
Ask Rebekah Hewitt, a systems security engineer for Boeing Defense or Greg Chandra, an
airplane level volume integration engineer.
They are both thirty-something SPEEA
Everett Council Reps who serve on the Everett
Roundtable Planning Committee. The Everett
Roundtable brings together SPEEA Council
Reps, Human Resources Generalists and Boeing
Everett site leaders on a quarterly basis to increase
communication and cooperation.
They are also both active in other areas of the union.
Chandra is vice chair of the SPEEA Governing
Documents Committee and Hewitt serves on the
Joint Policy Board for Ed Wells Partnership.
Why step up?
Hewitt, who started at Boeing 2004, didn’t know
much about her contract when she went to a
SPEEA 101 class. The class occurred soon after
she received an upgrade from a level 1 to a level
2 without any accompanying salary increase. She
was surprised to learn that she had been shorted
the contractual minimum and was glad SPEEA
could help her receive her raise.
“How often do these kinds of things fall through
the cracks because members don’t know what’s
in their contract?”
Not long after becoming a Council Rep in 2009,
she was elected Council officer. Since then, she’s
served on six committees and the 2012 SPEEA
Prof Negotiation Team.
Looking back on her SPEEA experience, being
elected to and serving on the negotiation team
was the highlight even though she also described
it as “arduous.”
The team met for more than a year and worked
through at least two contract offers, including
an initial offer by the company with drastic cuts
and takeaways. “It was hard. It took a long time,
but ultimately it was a victory,” she said, about
the approved Prof and Tech contracts, which
extended 5% wage pools for four more years and
eliminated proposed cost increases for benefits.
“We really bonded during a stressful situation.”
For Chandra, the SPEEA moment came when
he realized he had not received contract benefits regarding health insurance after transferring
from Boeing Mesa, Arizona. “No one explicitly
told me I had to join the union,” he said.
He wants to make sure others, especially trans-
fers, know and understand their union benefits.
He makes a point of welcoming bargaining unit
employees with a handout showing the ‘SPEEA
Advantage.’ He emphasizes the member-driv-
en leadership structure, opportunities to get
involved and access to salary charts and seminars/
training offered through SPEEA.
Lunchtime meetings in his work area occur on
a regular basis for members to learn about their
union, their contract benefits, and tools to help
grow their careers. When he became a Council
Rep last year for Bomarc, he partnered with
Council Rep Nikolas Geiselman to schedule
the meetings for this year.
As the vice chair of the SPEEA Governing
Documents Committee, he’s fueling his passion
for transparency. “It’s good to learn about the
underlying practices of the organization,” he said.
Both Chandra and Hewitt want to see more members step up - to go to an event, cast a vote in leadership elections or join a committee, for example.
“It’s not just my voice I want heard - I want others to own their union,” Chandra said. “What is
the organization? It is member run.”
Hewitt added, “It’s really
Greg Chandra and Becky Hewitt are shown here at a
SPEEA Council meeting in Everett. They were in line to
speak to a motion during debate.