September 10, 2009

Boeing workers in S.C. go non-union

Workers at Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner factory in South Carolina voted Thursday to go non-union, the aircraft maker said.

The employees voted 199-68 to decertify representation by the International Association of Machinists, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) reported.

We are pleased that hourly workers elected to deal directly with the company on employment matters, Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said. We are also pleased that Boeing Charleston can move forward and meet commitments on the 787 program.

However, she said the vote has nothing to do with Boeing's pending decision on whether or not to build a second assembly line in North Charleston.

The two are not connected whatsoever, she said.

Seattle and several other cities also reportedly are being considered

Union spokesman Bob Wood expressed disappointment at the vote outcome but said Boeing is playing one community against another, The Post and Courier said.

While we believe the workers at the South Carolina Boeing plant would be better served and their rights protected with union representation, ultimately, it was a decision those workers would make, Wood said. We are frustrated that Boeing did not remain neutral and allow these workers to make a decision free from pressure, intimidation and coercion. Boeing is playing a perverse game of pitting community against community for the most taxpayer money, and pitting worker against worker for the cheapest possible labor, using these tough economic times to take advantage of both.

The National Labor Relations Board must certify the vote within a week, Eslinger said.