Boeing: machinists union trying again to organize SC workers

File (WCIV)

A year after thousands of Boeing South Carolina employees overwhelmingly voted not to join the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM), the labor union has filed a new petition seeking to unionize—this time, just flight line employees.

“These employees—180 flight line technicians and inspectors—approached the IAM with serious concerns over arbitrary management decisions over overtime, bonuses and work rules,” states the IAM.

Boeing South Carolina issued a statement on the most recent petition.

"This union refuses to hear the clear message our team has voiced repeatedly," said Joan Robinson-Berry, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston. "Now they want to pit our teammates directly against each other.”

Boeing South Carolina calls the petition “micro-unit organizing.”

“The company will challenge this filing because we strongly believe that the IAM's attempt to isolate our flight line teammates is unreasonable and is prohibited by federal law," said Robinson-Berry. “We will fight it aggressively.”

A legal challenge will be filed to the National Labor Relations Board in the next few days, Robinson Berry said.

In 2017, the IAM lost its second bid to unionize Boeing South Carolina when approximately 74 percent of the employees cast a "no" ballot.

WATCH | Union vote fails at Boeing North Charleston

"It's really a shame and a disappointment that (IAM) have chosen to put our flight line teammates through this divisiveness and disruption again," said Robinson-Berry. “We continue to strongly believe that a union isn't in the best interests of our teammates, our business, our community and our state."

IAM's petition for flight line employees outlines the same issues it raised for hourly production workers in 2017.

At the time, lead organizer Mike Evans said the motivation to unionize stemmed from, “a system that suppresses wages, fosters inconsistency and awards only a chosen few.”

IAM stated Monday that it hopes Boeing South Carolina will work with the group on its most recent petition.

“We hope Boeing will work with us to improve the lives of Boeing South Carolina employees, their families and the community, just as we have worked together for the betterment of more than 35,000 Boeing employees around the country,” IAM states.

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