Workers at Boeing’s North Charleston plant will soon vote on whether or not to form a union, a move strongly opposed by the aerospace giant.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced Friday they will petition for more than 2,800 workers at the site to hold an election on collective bargaining, clearing the way for the IAM to represent them.
“Workers at Boeing deserve to be treated fairly and they deserve to be treated with respect,” the union’s lead Boeing SC organizer Mike Evans said. “Over the past year and a half, management at Boeing has repeatedly failed to make the improvements they promised to workers.”
Evans said the union is trying to address concerns about “subjective raises, inconsistent scheduling policies and a lack of respect on the shop floor.” The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will announce the voting date after receiving the petition. The date is expected to be February.
Boeing’s Vice President and General Manager Joan Robinson-Berry said the company would use every resource they have to make sure workers choose no. “A union is not in the best interests for Boeing South Carolina teammates, their family, this community and the state of South Carolina. That’s been our consistent position and we will never change that.”
Robinson-Berry said Boeing has policies that “treat people fairly” and procedures for those employees who feel they are not. She said the company also sits on the upper end of compensation for employees and provides a 401(k) and education program. “In order for us to attract the best and brightest, we have to provide the best compensation program for them to come ot the company,” she said in a press conference shortly after the IAM’s announcement. “We think we do that.”
It will be the IAM’s second attempt to organize a vote at the site. The union withdrew a previous vote in 2015, claiming Boeing had created a “toxic environment.”
“We feel confident that our friends at Boeing have the information they need to make an educated decisions when it comes to the benefits of collective bargaining for wages, hours and working conditions,” Evans said. “So withdrawing this petition is not an option. The Boeing workers will vote.”