Our union received disappointing news in August when the arbitrator’s decision in the Mechatronics case did not agree with our interpretation. We believe we put on an excellent case and our witnesses did an outstanding job. However, whenever you take a case to arbitration, you are certainly never guaranteed to win no matter how strong your case is. We do know this was the right fight, and it was the correct decision to take it to arbitration and challenge Boeing on this new job classification.
We invite members to look at read through the Union’s brief, as well as the arbitrator’s decision. Our concerns and grievance with this “new” job go beyond just challenging the labor grade. Because the installation of this job contains work functions that are not new or substantially changed, and the job functions are already performed in other active classifications within other job families, we argued the company did not have the right to install the job in the first place because it intentionally erodes other parts of the contract such as Category B inline promotions, seniority, etc. that have been in place for decades.
With the arbitrator’s decision, Boeing will begin populating this new grade 6 job, but that is not the end of the union action we will take. So where do we go from here?
An avenue we are already pursuing is challenging the labor grade. We have filed a grievance challenging the Mechatronics classification as a Grade 6 job through Article 13, using the classification guides as a model. This case can be taken all the way through arbitration, if necessary. So we are moving forward on that challenge and believe the current Mechatronics job description contains determining duties that should be classified higher than Labor Grade 6. In presenting the challenge to the labor grade, we will again bring in members who helped us with the evaluation to serve as witnesses and help us craft the proper argument and determine the correct labor grade.
In addition to challenging the labor grade, we will continue to look for any avenues that will lead to seniority protections for movement in and out of this classification.