Boeing workers vote to kick out Machinists union

By Andy Owens
Published Sept. 10, 2009

Boeing workers in North Charleston voted to decertify the Machinists union by a vote of 199 to 68 this afternoon.

The election was held by the National Labor Relations Board in response to a petition an employee filed for union decertification in July.

The results of the vote won’t be official until certified by the National Labor Relations Board seven days after the vote, said Boeing Charleston spokeswoman Candy Eslinger. She said that window gives time for any objections to be lodged.

Boeing Dreamliner The Boeing plant in North Charleston builds fuselage sections of the Chicago-based company’s 787 Dreamliner, which are shipped to Everett, Wash., for final assembly.

Boeing is considering Charleston and Everett, among other sites, as potential locations for a second Dreamliner assembly line. Eslinger said whether Boeing chooses Charleston, Everett or another site has nothing to do with the presence of the union or Thursday’s vote.

“There is absolutely no connection between the two, no connection between the union vote that’s happening today and the selection of a second line location,” she said hours before the votes were cast.

Dennis Murray filed a petition to decertify the 2-year-old Machinists union local on July 30. That same day Boeing announced it was buying the local fuselage assembly operation from Dallas-based Vought Aircraft Industries, a key supplier for the Dreamliner program. Boeing also owns 50% of Global Aeronautica, another nearby plant building and integrating sections of the 787.

“It’s time to let the people make up their own minds,” Murray said after the hearing in August.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers vowed to work to keep the union in the Boeing plant during the weeks leading up to the decertification vote. Bob Wood, spokesman for the Machinists union, said the union wanted to educate workers about the union and its role.

“What the people who are for this (decertification) want is for them (workers) to never again have democratic due process on the job,” Wood said earlier. “We are certainly going to work hard to educate and inform everyone at Boeing, at this facility, about how important that democratic due process is.”

The vote took place over several hours Thursday afternoon at the Boeing Charleston facility near Charleston International Airport. About 280 hourly employees are represented by the union, whether or not they are dues-paying members of the union. In right-to-work South Carolina, union membership cannot be forced, though contract terms are applied uniformly.

The contract agreed upon by the Machinists union and Vought was a three-year deal, but it had to be renegotiated after Boeing acquired the plant. The opening up of the contract allowed for employees to petition for decertification, said Howard Neidig, assistant to the regional director at the NLRB office in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Ashley Fletcher Frampton and Molly Parker contributed to this report.

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Added: 10 Sep 2009

You people in South Carolina are an interesting group. Between the Governor, the rude paid off congressman, and this Boeing plant deal, I will make sure I never venture into your state or fly on a 787. Yikes!


Added: 11 Sep 2009

At least the SC governor was duly elected. In Washington we use the find-a-vote process after elections to pick union-thug friendly Democrats. I'm stuck here for now but maybe I can get a transfer to SC when Boeing sets up the assembly line there. It would be great to work in a place that's where a union doesn't get in the way of productivity. By the way, I'm pretty certain they won't miss you Rick.


Added: 11 Sep 2009

That is what freedom is Rick. Your invitation is still open. Is it still raining in Seattle? Blue skys and pleasant temperature here. Visit us, you may like us.


Added: 12 Sep 2009

rick get a life your jsut a union thugh that got kicked out due to you held a election nobody knew about or voted on...on this vote looks like 70% rejected get a life!!


Added: 12 Sep 2009

Good Riddance. Yikes!


Added: 12 Sep 2009

What do you mean, "you people"?

Pierre Jamison

Added: 13 Sep 2009

I guess these people don't believe in Union protection. Wait until they become an "At Will" State where you can be terminated from your employment without cause. They'll change your mind then. What are you going to do when they start taking all you benefits from you? There won't be union to fight for you! Just because you decert doesn't mean you're going to have a job.


Added: 14 Sep 2009

The impact of union decertification is not one of immediate gratification, but something that should be viewed upon longterm. True this is a down economic cycle, but when a high percentage of the jobs are later contracted out to employment agencies what will people say then. Union busting has always been another way to swindle the "Ignorant" workforce. As as "Union-baby", I can only say that numbers do matter in the longrun.


Added: 15 Sep 2009

Rick, What do you mean by "You people?" LOL! Thanks for your interest in not coming to South Carolina. Our jails are already full of "you people." ATL


Added: 8 Oct 2009

There are about 200 of us that work for a contractor. We are represented by the IAM at Tinker Air Force Base. The IAM was real friendly when they were organizing us. Once we became members under a union security clause they all of a sudden lost interest in serving the members. All union members under a union security clause are a captured membership with little to no say. The union doesn't have to serve you anymore because no matter what, at the end of the month they're going to get their union dues whether the members are happy or not. The IAM has a growing national reputation for representation where democracy is non-existent. They need to be investigated by the DOL. James


Added: 18 Dec 2009

You will be sorry, having to pay for the class then to be "let go" because SC is an "at will" state. Good Luck without a union. I knew there had to be something funny about "that" election. Once again Good luck.

Jim V