The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers say that the Boeing decision to move to South Carolina had nothing to do with any “concerns over future strikes by their unionized workforce.”
IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger issued a statement following the announcement saying, “Corporate decisions like this are years in the making, and this one is no different. Until the last minute, executives feign indecision in an effort to dodge responsibility and to squeeze the last drops of goodwill out of a community that is losing a part of its legacy and, more important, its employment base.”
Association officials in the statement also criticized South Carolina as a site for a $750 million new 787 Dreamliner assembly line. “Boeing’s goal was not an agreement that would keep the work in Washington state,” said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski. “Their goal was to run out the clock on a charade that included blaming their own workers for a decision to establish operations in yet another distant and high risk environment.”
“South Carolina’s incentives demand that Boeing spend another three-quarters of a billion dollars and guarantee that state more than three times as many jobs as they predicted would be needed for a second line here in Puget Sound,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “Yet this company has not guaranteed any jobs for Washington state, within the Machinists ranks or in any other Boeing payroll.”
According to the IAM, the union represents more than 35,000 Boeing employees among nearly 700,000 active and retired members across North America.
Before Boeing Co. decided this week that it would locate a new assembly line in South Carolina, the company had narrowed the choice to either North Charleston, or its existing location near Seattle. North Charleston already has two plants where 2,500 employers make and assemble pieces of the 787. The 787’s are already assembled in the Seattle suburb of Everett. The Seattle Times reported that a second line is needed because production is a few years behind schedule.
The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that discussions between Boeing and the Machinists union over the second 787 production line in the Seattle had effectively died. The newspaper reported that talks broke down over a proposed potential 10-year no-strike agreement. Workers in North Charleston voted against the Machinists union last month. The Seattle Times reported that deliveries of the high-tech 787 were postponed repeatedly due to manufacturing glitches and an eight-week labor strike.
The South Carolina Senate on Tuesday passed an incentive package providing sales tax exemptions for companies creating at least 3,800 jobs, that would allow the issuance of $170 million of economic development bonds.