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  • Is This Union Stalking Boeing?

    The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has picked another fight with Boeing as it moved Monday to unionize an assembly plant in South Carolina.

    The Machinists began the process by petitioning the National Labor Relations Board for an election in the hopes of organizing the 2,400 workers at the company’s North Charleston plant.

    “The petition was filed after a significant number of Boeing workers signed authorization cards expressing interest in union representation,” IAM detailed in a press release. “Workers at Boeing had reached out to the IAM regarding numerous workplace concerns, including forced overtime, fair wages and a lack of respect on the shop floor.”

    As if the union was stalking the airline manufacturing giant, it was actually a labor dispute that compelled Boeing to open a plant in South Carolina instead of Everett, Wash. Boeing was founded in Seattle. A New York Times article from 2011 notes that the conflict got so bad, the NLRB accused Boeing of illegally setting up shop in South Carolina to escape union organized strikes. However, some lawmakers became concerned that the NLRB telling Boeing they could not move would set a bad precedent.

    Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, was quick to oppose the Machinists’ attempts to organize employees at the assembly plant.

    “Now, simply by filing this petition, the same union that tried to take our jobs and our work, has already begun to divide our team at a time when we’re just beginning to gel and catch a solid rhythm in production,” Wyse noted in a statement.

    “We think our Boeing South Carolina teammates deserve to pave their own future and keep their hard-earned money in their own pockets. In fact, they’ve been very successful doing just that for the past five years,” she continued.

    “They’ve built not only new airplanes, but also a new site, and new opportunities for an incredible future here in South Carolina by working together as a team, without the distractions of a union,” Wyse concluded.

    Haley was also quick to condemn the plan, arguing in a statement that companies in her state understand the importance of taking care of their workers and that employees do not want a middle man between them and management.

    The governor also called the union hypocritical considering that several years back the union opposed the South Carolina Boeing plant, The Associated Press reports.

    “We expect Governor Haley and her friends, who have no clue what it’s like to be a front-line production employee for Boeing, to keep their personal biases to themselves and remain neutral in the weeks leading up to the union vote,” IAM lead organizer Mike Evans noted in a statement.

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