Machinists Union Fails in Bid to Organize Boeing South Carolina

 - February 15, 2017, 9:34 PM
The IAM withdrew a 2015 petition to conduct a union vote at the Boeing South Carolina plant, shown here. (Photo: Bill Carey)

Production workers at Boeing’s North Charleston, S.C., plant on February 15 voted against joining the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM), dealing the union another setback in its attemp to organize the 787 Dreamliner assembly operation.

The IAM represented Vought Aircraft workers at the site before Boeing acquired the company in 2009 and workers opted out of the union; it sought to organize workers there again in 2015 but withdrew its petition before the scheduled vote.

In an evening statement, the IAM acknowledged that it lost a new vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but it did not provide the vote count. Boeing in a statement said that 2,828 of some 3,000 eligible employees had voted, and 2,097—or 74 percent—opted against joining the union. Under NLRB rules, a year must elapse before another such vote.

We’re disappointed the workers at Boeing South Carolina will not yet have the opportunity to see all the benefits that come with union representation” stated IAM lead organizer Mike Evans. “But more than anything, we are disheartened they will have to continue to work under a system that suppresses wages, fosters inconsistency and awards only a chosen few.”

Boeing celebrated the results, noting that the vote was decided days before the planned February 17 roll-out of its first completed 787-10 Dreamliner. Plans call for President Donald Trump to attend the event.

We will continue to move forward as one team,” said Joan Robinson-Berry, Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager. “We have a bright future ahead of us and we’re eager to focus on the accomplishments of this great team and to developing new opportunities.”