CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Boeing’s firing of five former flight line technicians who worked at the North Charleston plant constituted unlawful discrimination against union supporters.
Boeing is facing several lawsuits connected to the employees who were fired, including many who mention the lawsuits that they were union supporters.
According to machinists union spokesman Jonathan Battaglia, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board found that five of the six cases involved wrongful termination of union supporters.
“This ruling is a landmark first step to victory for workers at Boeing South Carolina,” IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said. “Boeing has continuously and systematically ignored the law and trampled on the rights of its own employees in South Carolina. We call on Boeing to immediately reinstate our members, sit down now to negotiate a contract with its Flight Line employees, end its scorched-Earth anti-union campaign and get back to the business of working with the IAM and our members to build aircraft. Now is not the time for Boeing to be abusing its safety rules to harass and fire experienced and skilled workers who are critical to the safety of Boeing airplanes.”
In May of 2018, 176 flight line workers voted to unionize by a vote of 104 to 65 to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers
“The IAM has completely mischaracterized the NLRB Regional Director’s decision," a Boeing spokeswoman said in a statement Monday afternoon. “There has been no finding of liability against Boeing. Much like the initial filing of a lawsuit, all that has occurred is that the Regional Director has decided that the cases should go to trial before an Administrative Law Judge. Boeing has fully cooperated with the Regional office in their review of the union’s claims, and we are pleased that some of the charges have been eliminated. However, we strongly disagree with the NLRB regional office’s decision to proceed to hearing on the teammate terminations. Each of the terminated employees was discharged for violating well publicized, longstanding and objectively reasonable safety and conduct policies, including for falsification of company records, failing to come to work, and walking across an active runway despite direct contrary instruction.”
Much of the regional office’s determination is based on the flight line micro-unit decision on appeal to the NLRB and which will be dismissed if the NLRB reverses that decision. We remain focused on meeting our customers’ commitments and providing a safe and innovative environment for our teammates.”
Boeing has refused to negotiate with the group, saying the micro-unit unionizing is prohibited under federal law.
Last fall, several members of congress signed a letter urging Boeing to negotiate with the group.
“We applaud the NLRB regional director for following the guidelines of federal labor law and ruling in our favor,” the group of unjustly terminated workers said in a statement. “Our support for IAM representation should have never been reason to be unjustly fired. We would like to place this behind us. Now is the time for Boeing to do the right thing and allow us to return to work.”