Union continues push to form union at Boeing plant in N. Charleston

Machinists union continues push to form union at Boeing plant in N. Charleston

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - The machinists union aimed at attracting Boeing employees is facing lots of opposition from state leaders and Boeing officials.

Right now the union represents over 30,000 Boeing employees in Washington state.

The machinists union is continuing the push to form a union at the plant in North Charleston.

'Demand Better' and 'Justice On The Job,' a couple of sayings found on these billboards that have gone up in the last couple of weeks.

"The billboards mainly are up there to reach out to those Boeing workers that maybe we have yet to have a chance to talk with," said special representative, Michael Evans.

Evans works at the machinists union office on Dorchester Road in North Charleston.

Seven months ago, the union set up shop here to begin recruiting. Now, organizers are taking their message to the streets.

Evans said, "There's a lot of confusion about this process itself and what the benefits are and what a union can provide."

Evans believes a union can give the 7,500 Boeing employees additional rights in the workplace.

"Right now they don't experience any rights what so ever. It's basically up to the company to make any arbitrary decisions they would like," said Evans.

Governor Haley is strongly against unions.

"She has her right to her political opinion," said Evans.

Boeing officials agree with with the Governor. Part of company's lengthy statement said, "We'd like to remind everyone who sees one of these billboards that the IAM (the union) is the same union that tried to shut down 787 final assembly and delivery in South Carolina by filing an NLRB lawsuit against Boeing in March 2010."

Right now union officials are trying to get Boeing employees to sign authorization cards

They need a minimum of 900 signatures before employees can vote on whether they want a union.

Evans said, "The National Labor Relations Board known as the NLRB requires 30 percent. That determines interest, that there's enough interest in the work place now to hold a secret ballot election."

Evans says the machinists union will continue to put up billboards in the area, hoping for a vote in a few months.

23,000 people in South Carolina are represented by unions, according to the Federation of Labor Organizations.

That total makes up about 4.7% of the workforce in South Carolina.

Statement from Governor's spokesperson, Doug Mayer:

We have some of the best businesses in the world in South Carolina, and they understand they need to take care of those that take care of them. The fact is our workforce appreciates the direct relationship they have with their employers and there is no reason to change that. We are doing just fine in South Carolina without the meddling of unions.

Statement from Boeing:

We're aware the union is spending its members' dues buying billboards around the Charleston area to continue to try to solicit Boeing South Carolina teammates and take part of their hard-earned money.? We encourage those who are considering the union's bluster to take a hard look at the IAM's track record in the state?. The IAM has not contributed to job growth in South Carolina and they've repeatedly insulted our teammates, their experience and capabilities. Even to suggest that BSC teammates "Demand Something Better" insinuates that our teammates are somehow mediocre and don't already demand better every day in their jobs – which is far from true.

We'd like to remind everyone who sees one of these billboards that the IAM is the same union that tried to shut down 787 final assembly and delivery in South Carolina by filing an NLRB lawsuit against Boeing in March 2010. This is the same union who just last month, criticized South Carolina workers' abilities to build the new 787-10 Obviously, here in South Carolina, we take exception to criticisms like that because we see Boeing South Carolina teammates building and delivering high quality 787s to customers from around the world every day without the need for third-party representation.

The IAM will make many promises to encourage card signing, but they don't have any obligation or ability to fulfill those promises. The union can't guarantee anything except that they'll be sure to collect their monthly dues from Boeing teammates. Many of our teammates saw this play out first-hand when the IAM unionized former Vought employees. They promised much, but delivered little, which is why those same teammates voted to decertify the union in September 2009.

We also like to remind people that the union is a business, and like any business, it needs to generate revenue to remain viable. And businesses that want to grow typically use advertising to solicit new customers. In this case, the customers are Boeing employees and the union revenue would come directly out of the pockets of our hard-working teammates.

Boeing South Carolina teammates have not only built new airplanes over the past five years, but also a new site, and new opportunities here in South Carolina. Boeing South Carolina teammates are making history every day that a 787 Dreamliner or aft and midbody component delivers from this site, and they're doing it successfully without the IAM.

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