January 25, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
North Charleston, SC – The International Association of Machinists filed a petition Jan. 20 to have the about 2,850 production workers at Boeing South Carolina vote on whether they want to join the union.
The National Labor Relations Board is expected to call for a vote in the second half of February. “Boeing workers just want to be treated with the respect they deserve,” Mike Evans, the Machinists’ lead organizer at the North Charleston plant, said in a statement. “Why should they be subject to a different set of standards and rules than folks building the exact same plane in Seattle?” He told the Seattle Times that Boeing wages in South Carolina are 36% lower than they are at its unionized factories in the Puget Sound area. Boeing executive Joan Robinson-Berry told reporters that the company pays wages “at or above market” for the Charleston region, and will use “every resource available to us” to ensure “a union-free environment” in South Carolina. The union cancelled a previous vote scheduled for April 2015 after what it called “unprecedented political interference on the part of South Carolina lawmakers and the rampant spread of misinformation among Boeing workers.” Read more