February 5, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Charleston, SC – Although South Carolina is the least unionized state in the nation, its best-known labor leader believes the International Association of Machinists has a good shot at winning their second campaign to organize the Boeing plant in North Charleston.
“We can certainly win at Boeing,” Kenny Riley, president of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422, told Forbes. “But the IAM has to bring out the star power… they have to wear the badge of the labor movement. All of labor has to be in it.” The about 2,850 workers at the plant will vote on whether to join the Machinists Feb. 15. A previous campaign in 2015 failed, as the union cancelled a scheduled vote after Boeing waged a massive campaign against it, including ads featuring then-Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. “The message IAM needs to send to workers who may be on the fringe is that, ‘to those of you who are skeptical about joining, you don’t have to join,’” Riley said. “Vote for the union and let the union come in and prove they can make life better for you.” Read more