NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - An election is expected to be held on April 22 at Boeing South Carolina which will determine if the 3,000 Boeing employees in the Lowcountry will be able to join the Machinists Union.
The National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday approved an agreement between the International Association of Machinsts and Aerospace Workers and the Boeing Company for a union representation election among the workers at Boeing's 787 facility in North Charleston.
Last week, the IAM got enough signatures to call for a vote petitioning the NLRB for an election at the Boeing Dreamliner assembly plant.
IAM spokesman Frank Larkin said the union got more signatures than the required 30 percent of the production employees at the company.
According to the agreement, the one day election is scheduled to take place on April 22 at five locations at Boeing's campus in North Charleston.
"This is an important step on the road to a collective bargaining agreement for workers at Boeing South Carolina," said IAM lead organizer Mike Evans. "This is a chance for Boeing workers and their families to substantially improve their careers and communities. The law provides for a free and fair election without intimidation or harassment and we intend to ensure it is conducted accordingly."
Boeing has been fighting efforts to organize the South Carolina plant, saying the union is not in the best interests of the company, the workers or the state.
Last week, newly appointed Boeing Vice President and General Manager Beverly Wyse pointed out the IAM tried to keep the plant from opening.
Evans said they expect the Gov. Nikki Haley and her friends to "keep their personal biases to themselves and remain neutral in the weeks leading up to the union vote."
"This is the same group that fought us and tried to shut Boeing down," Haley said."This is the same group that helped do the lawsuit to make sure we couldn't hire those 1,000 original workers in Charleston. And now this same group wants to go and unionize and try to claim they are fighting for the workers in South Carolina."
Both Boeing and the IAM have launched social media platforms to keep their followers updated on the process.
Boeing released the following statement Tuesday night:
The NLRB has determined that a secret ballot election for eligible BSC teammates will be held on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. At that time, eligible BSC production and maintenance teammates will vote, deciding if they want to become represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union or remain non-union.
We believe our teammates have both a right and a responsibility to be well-informed about this decision as the outcome of this vote will affect all our futures, our community, and the future of manufacturing in South Carolina.
We're encouraging all BSC teammates to exercise their right to vote on April 22, so this critical decision will be made with everyone's voice.
We've said for the past five years that we don't believe a union is in the best interest of our teammates, our business, our community nor our state, and we think it's important that our teammates, friends, business colleagues and community leaders in South Carolina know that our position has not changed.