Union vote set for April on Machinists representation for Boeing workers in South Carolina

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Production workers at Boeing plants in South Carolina will decide next month whether they want representation by the Machinists union.

The union announced Tuesday that the Machinists and Boeing have agreed to the National Labor Relations Board conducting a one-day vote April 22 at five locations on the company’s North Charleston campus.

The union last week petitioned for an election for production workers at the company’s 787 Dreamliner assembly plant and the nearby Interiors Responsibility Center, which provides interior parts for the 787.

The vote also includes production workers at its new propulsion plant.

Boeing must provide the exact number of those eligible to vote to the board.

Union officials said last week that they expected at least 2,400 workers would be eligible. But now it estimates that 3,000 of the company’s approximately 7,500 workers in South Carolina will be eligible to vote.

The Associated Press left a message with the company seeking comment. Company officials in recent weeks have urged workers to vote against union representation.

Gov. Nikki Haley said last week after the union petitioned for the vote that South Carolina companies understand the importance of taking care of workers and their employees do not want a middle man between them and management.

She called it hypocritical that a union that several years ago opposed the South Carolina Boeing plant now says it wants to represent its workers. Haley has strongly opposed unions in a state where only 4 per cent of the workforce is unionized.

Four years ago, shortly before Boeing opened the $750 million Dreamliner plant in South Carolina, the NLRB filed a complaint against the company alleging the nonunion plant was in retaliation against Washington state workers who earlier went on strike.

The NLRB later dropped the complaint after Boeing agreed that the 737 Max would be built in Washington.