The International Association of Machinists (IAM) on Monday filed another petition to unionize Boeing South Carolina, this time limiting its reach to 180 employees working on the flight line in North Charleston. Boeing will challenge the filing as illegal.
The International Association of Machinists (IAM) on Monday filed another petition to unionize Boeing South Carolina, this time limiting its reach to 180 employees working on the flight line in North Charleston.
Boeing has notified the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that it will challenge the filing because it targets just one segment of the North Charleston workforce.
“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 December, the five-member NLRB with three members appointed by President Donald Trump issued a flurry of decisions overturning various union-friendly rules the agency had put in place or strengthened under President Barack Obama.
One of those decisions reversed a 2011 ruling with the effect of making it more difficult for a small group of employees within a larger company to form a separate bargaining unit.
No vote on the petition will be scheduled until the NLRB resolves Boeing’s legal challenge.
Previous efforts by the IAM to organize the North Charleston workforce have prompted bitter, well-funded propaganda campaigns from both sides seeking to sway the workers.
Boeing has hired anti-union consultants to give talks to employees during work shifts. And both sides have mounted major advertising pushes to get their conflicting messages across through TV, radio and billboards as well as in social media and in mailings to the homes of eligible employees.
A year ago, the IAM called a vote of the entire Boeing hourly workforce in South Carolina, but its effort to represent the roughly 3,000 workers was rejected by 74 percent of those who voted.
That followed an IAM effort two years earlier to organize the workforce that was called off before a vote when it was clear that the union wouldn’t win.