The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is once again trying to unionize workers at Boeing South Carolina.
The Machinists union filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election for flight line workers in North Charleston. The petition, which is in draft form currently, includes 180 Boeing S.C. flight line technicians and inspectors, the union said. Flight line workers prepare 787 Dreamliners for customer delivery; they have certifications from the Federal Aviation Authority that enable them to approve an aircraft for flight.
“These employees approached the IAM with serious concerns over arbitrary management decisions over overtime, bonuses and work rules,” IAM spokesman Jonathan Battaglia said in an email. “We hope Boeing will work with us to improve the lives of BSC employees, their families and the community, just as we have worked together for the betterment of more than 35,000 Boeing employees around the country.”
Boeing said it will file a legal challenge with the NLRB; the NLRB will then determine whether it will move forward to an election.
“This union refuses to hear the clear message our team has voiced repeatedly. ... The company will challenge this filing because we strongly believe that the IAM’s attempt to isolate our flight line teammates is unreasonable and is prohibited by federal law," said Joan Robinson-Berry, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, in a statement.
This is the third petition filed by the union for Boeing S.C. in three years. The first two organizing attempts yielded mass advertising campaigns from each side, espousing their message of pro- or anti-union.
The first planned election was for production and maintenance workers in 2015, but the union canceled it a few days before it was scheduled to take place. Boeing said the move showed a lack of interest by its workforce; the union said the company had intimidated its workers from voting in favor of representation.
The second election occurred in February 2017, during which production and maintenance Boeing S.C. workers overwhelmingly voted against unionization. Seventy-four percent of eligible voters said they were not in favor of representation, and the union soon closed its office on Dorchester Road.
This petition attempt differs in that it is geared specifically toward flight line workers at the North Charleston campus.
“We will share reliable facts and information with our team as we’ve done in the past, while the IAM will continue to try to deceive with their typical half-truths and misinformation,” Robinson-Berry said. “Our collaborative culture has been the cornerstone of success at Boeing South Carolina, and we continue to strongly believe that a union isn’t in the best interests of our teammates, our business, our community and our state.”