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Mar
2015
30

NLRB Sets April 22nd Date for Boeing SC Union Vote; Company Putting Anti-Union Messages in Cafeteria

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) set April 22nd as the date when more than 3,000 production workers at three of Boeing’s plants in North Charleston, South Carolina will vote on union representation from the International Association of Machinists (IAM).  The vote was scheduled after the union came to the NLRB with a “significant number” of authorization cards signed by the workers. 

Fewer than half of the 7,500+ people that work for Boeing South Carolina will be impacted, but the decision could have far-reaching implications for the company in South Carolina.

Boeing will now supply the NLRB with the names of those eligible to vote.  It is expected that all full-time and part-time production workers at Boeing’s Dreamliner facility will be allowed to vote, as will workers at the company’s Interiors Responsibility Center and the newly opened Propulsion South Carolina plant.  Boeing moved its Dreamliner facilities to South Carolina specifically to avoid unions after a decade of conflict with the IAM.

Clearly labor and management have differing opinions on the issue of workers’ rights, but both urged the workers to vote and participate in the process, according to The Post and Courier:

Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, urged employees to vote on what she termed will be a “critical decision” for the company’s future.

“You have both a right and a responsibility to be well informed about your decision,” Wyse told employees on Tuesday. “The outcome of this vote will affect all of our futures, our community, and the future of manufacturing in South Carolina.”

Mike Evans, IAM’s lead organizer, called the vote “an important step on the road to a collective bargaining agreement” for Boeing workers.

“This is a chance for Boeing workers and their families to substantially improve their careers and communities,” Evans said in a statement.

Boeing is expected to pull out all of the anti-union stops to pressure workers to vote their way.  The Post and Courier recently reported that the company changed all of the table tops in the North Charleston plant cafeteria to display anti-union messaging to workers while they eat.  

The table-toppers use humor to get Boeing’s point across. For example, one table-topper mimics the nutrition labels found on most packaged foods, asking, “Is the IAM Healthy for You?” Another shows a picture of a piece of rotting fruit with the warning: “If you go on strike, you don’t get a paycheck, your benefits can stop and you cannot collect unemployment.” A third proclaims: “We don’t need a union. We don’t want a union.

One can assume that in a state as brazenly anti-union as South Carolina, labor laws protecting the right to a fair vote will be all but ignored. Despite this, the IAM believes they have the support of the workers.

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