Boeing Employees in South Carolina File with NRLB for Union Election

By Paul Riegler on 16 March 2015
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DSC_0420The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers moved to unionize workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant Monday, filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board.

The petition calls for the NLRB to hold an election for the 2,400 production employees at the North Charleston plant.  The NLRB will first review IAM’s filing to determine if the requirements for a unionization vote have been fulfilled.  If it determines that they have, the agency would set a date for an election.

The union cited numerous workplace concerns voiced by workers as a reason for the interest in union representation, including mandatory overtime and fair wages.

The South Carolina operation is the airframe maker’s first non-union plant for commercial jet assembly.  The plant opened in 2011 despite the NLRB’s attempts to block the move.  At the time, the agency argued that the location was selected in retaliation for past worker strikes in Washington State, where its other final assembly plant is located.  Unions are not as prominent in South Carolina, which is a right-to-work state.

Meanwhile, Boeing has actively campaigned against unionization, having enlisted local politicians including Governor Nikki Haley to speak out against it.

“We’re trying to build a better life for ourselves, our families and our community,” said Boeing employee Gerald Guerena in a statement issued by the union. “We feel the best way to do this is with a collective bargaining agreement that allows us to negotiate with the company over wages, benefits, safety procedures and more.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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