Boeing gives NLRB list of union-eligible employees as Haley bashes IAM efforts

Boeing South Carolina has given the National Labor Relations Board the names and addresses of 3,175 workers at its production facilities in North Charleston who are eligible to vote April 22 on whether they want to be represented by the International Association of Machinists union.

Meanwhile, Gov. Nikki Haley used a stop Wednesday at The Rotary Club of Summerville to once again blast the IAM’s attempts to organize the Boeing plant — something Haley said she plans to continue doing over the next three weeks.

“My job is to make sure I protect the workforce and we’ve got good workers at Boeing and I remember what these out–of-staters (union officials) did,” Haley said. “What I’m doing is just calling them out on the table. … I want our workforce to remember that if it were up to the IAM, there would be no Boeing in Charleston.”

Haley has said the IAM played a role in NLRB efforts to stop production at the Boeing plant in 2011, amid claims that Boeing used the South Carolina facility for an illegal transfer of work to a nonunion site. The IAM has termed Haley’s version of events “Boeing’s big lie.” The union says it raised concerns with the NLRB because it was looking out for the interests of its members in Washington state, the same it would do for those in South Carolina.

Compiling the list of eligible workers is part of the election process overseen by the NLRB, which has supplied union officials with a copy of document. The deadline for Boeing to file the list was Tuesday.

“We wish we were not required to release this information, and we reiterate — it’s only because we are required to by law,” Boeing officials said on the WeAreBoeingSC.com website, which provides anti-union information to workers and others.

“We anticipate the IAM will significantly ramp up home visits and mailings to BSC teammates after obtaining these home addresses,” a statement on the website says. “We hope the IAM will respect the privacy of our teammates’ homes and families.”

Union spokesman Frank Larkin said the IAM will use the list to encourage eligible workers to vote in favor of representation. That includes doing face-to-face visits at workers’ home or at the IAM’s office on Dorchester Road.

“A lot of those house visits are at the worker’s request, because they don’t feel comfortable talking about it on the shop floor,” Larkin said. “And a lot of time the decisions are made jointly by workers and their spouses. The spouse can have as many questions as the worker.”

Union representatives have been meeting with Boeing workers for more than a year, but those efforts will intensify as the election draws closer.

Those eligible to vote include all full-time and regular part-time production and maintenance workers at Boeing’s Dreamliner manufacturing facility adjacent to Charleston International Airport, as well as those at the company’s Interiors Responsibility Center and the newly opened Propulsion South Carolina plant, both at Palmetto Commerce Park.

The question on the April 22 ballot will call for a simple “yes” or “no” answer as to whether the voter wants to be represented by the Machinists union. The results will be tabulated immediately following the conclusion of the last voting session, which is scheduled to end at 5 p.m. Challenges to the voting process could be filed afterward.

The IAM’s attempt to organize workers at the Boeing plant has been contentious, with both sides accusing the other of misinformation. Boeing and the union have bought radio advertisements and billboards and used websites and social media to get their viewpoints across. Haley also stepped into the fray, calling the IAM a “bully” and “hypocrites” and vowing to fight the union.

On Wednesday, Haley said she’s telling union officials: “Get out. We got here without you. We don’t need you in the process.”

Most recently, Boeing posted a video to its website, “How Union Strikes Affect a Family: A Personal Story,” in which Joey Peluso, an engineering technical specialist, tells how his uncle lost his home and car due to an autoworkers’ strike.

“I’m not willing to risk my well-being on somebody else’s decision,” Peluso said in the video. “For my family, a strike basically ruined their life.”

Boeing also has produced two radio advertisements warning that “out-of-state union bosses” could force local workers to strike.

“That’s not the case,” Larkin said, adding that Boeing is using the possibility of a strike as a scare tactic. “No strike can take place unless the members themselves at the site vote for it.”

The IAM last month presented its petition for a vote to the NLRB, getting what union officials called a “significant number” of Boeing workers to sign authorization cards expressing interest in union representation. The IAM had to get at least 30 percent of eligible workers to sign cards.

The IAM is the nation’s largest aerospace union, representing more than 35,000 Boeing workers at 24 locations nationwide, including at the company’s Washington state facilities. The union also represents approximately 90,000 workers at Lockheed Martin, General Electric, United Technologies and other companies.

The Post and Courier staff writer Brenda Rindge contributed to this report

Reach David Wren at 937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_

NLRB Approves Election for Machinists at Boeing

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) approved an agreement between the IAM and the Boeing Company that establishes the date, time, duration and eligible voters for a union representation election among more than 3,000 workers at Boeing’s 787 production facility in North Charleston, SC.

According to the agreement, which was facilitated by the NLRB and is known as a stipulated election agreement, the one-day election is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at five separate locations on Boeing’s North Charleston campus.

“This is an important step on the road to a collective bargaining agreement for workers at Boeing South Carolina,” said IAM lead organizer Mike Evans. “This is a chance for Boeing workers and their families to substantially improve their careers and communities. The law provides for a free and fair election without intimidation or harassment and we intend to ensure it is conducted accordingly.”

For more information, visit www.boeingworkers.com.

The IAM is the U.S.’s largest aerospace union, representing approximately 90,000 workers at Lockheed Martin, General Electric, United Technologies and others. The IAM also represents more than 35,000 Boeing employees at 24 locations nationwide.

GOP Congress Tries to Block Fair Election Rules

03_19_2015_congressThe GOP-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a resolution to overturn new rules issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that streamline the union election process to make it fairer for workers, employers and unions.

Tell the House to Vote NO on Disapproval of New NLRB Election Rules

The GOP majority in the Senate already pushed through its version of the “joint resolution of disapproval,” a rarely used provision of the Congressional Review Act of 1996 that allows Congress to overturn certain actions by government agencies. Congress has only successfully used the provision once in 2001 when another GOP-controlled Congress killed the Clinton Administration’s workplace ergonomic standards that would have protected worker’s health.

The NLRB issued the new election rules in December to streamline the election process and reduce unnecessary litigation companies often use to delay elections and undermine worker support for the union.

The House version of the resolution, H.J. Res 29, would not only wipe out the new rules, but also prohibit the NLRB from adopting another rule in “substantially the same form” unless specifically authorized by Congress. For example, the Board could not issue rules requiring electronic filing of election petitions, which is faster than the current method of filing by mail. Electronic filing is consistent with practices in all federal courts.

Once passed by Congress, the resolution needs approval by the president to take effect. President Obama’s senior advisors are recommending a veto. “Instead of seeking to undermine a streamlined democratic process for American workers to vote on whether or not they want to be represented, the Congress should join the president in strengthening protections for American workers and giving them more of a voice in the workplace and the economy,” the administration said in a statement about the resolution.

Analysts say there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to get to the two-thirds majority (67) to override a veto.

Read more about the GOP attack on the new NLRB rules.

Support Grows For Boeing South Carolina Workers

Support from the labor community and fellow IAM members is growing for workers at the Boeing plant in North Charleston, SC who took a crucial step toward winning a strong voice on their pay, benefits and working conditions when they filed for an election to determine if they will be represented by the IAM, North America’s largest and most powerful aerospace union.

In the coming months, Boeing South Carolina workers will have the opportunity to join the more than 35,000 Boeing workers nationwide who benefit from a collective bargaining agreement negotiated through the IAM.

Jon Holden, who hired into Boeing’s Everett, WA plant 18 years ago as a parts and tooling expeditor, and is now the President and Directing Business Representative of IAM District 751, says it’s well worth it for Boeing workers in South Carolina to have the Machinists Union by their side.

“We have a unique perspective to know what it is like to work in a Boeing production facility,” said Holden. “We are excited that these hard-working, well-deserving workers in South Carolina will have the opportunity to choose whether or not they want representation with their employer.

“We have raised the standard of living in the communities we live in, simply because we have had the opportunity to bargain our wages, hours and working conditions with Boeing,” said Holden. “We feel strongly that these workers will also benefit themselves and their communities once they have the right to bargain with their employer. We wish them well in gaining rights protected by federal law, which we at District 751 cherish so much.”

Erin McKee, who as president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO represents over 80,000 South Carolina union members, puts it simply: “Being a union member is the best investment I ever made.”

“When you get married, you sign a contract with the person you love and respect more than anyone else in the world,” explains McKee. “And your job is how you support your family that you love. So why would you work without something in writing?”

But what should be a simple decision, to have a voice and stability at work, is clouded by anti-union politicians who are looking out for their own gain, and not for Boeing South Carolina workers.

“The problem in South Carolina is we’re taught from a very young age, even at the churches and schools, that unions are evil,” said Joe Shelley, a boiler operator at KapStone Paper Co. in Charleston and a member of the United Steelworkers (USW). “People have this whole concept that unions have destroyed our middle class. What they’ve forgotten is how the middle class was developed by the unions.”

And unions such as the IAM continue to fight for the middle class. Union workers earn an average of 30 percent more in wages than their non-union counterparts, and have much higher access to benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.

“We’re trying to build a better life for ourselves, our families and our community,” said four-year Boeing South Carolina employee Gerald Guerena. “We feel the best way to do this is with a collective bargaining agreement that allows us to negotiate with the company over wages, benefits, safety procedures and more.”

To stay up-to-date with Boeing workers in South Carolina, visit www.BoeingWorkers.com.

Boeing Workers, IAM to Seek Union Election in South Carolina

North Charleston, SC, March 16, 2015 – The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) today filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold an election for more than 2,400 production employees at the Boeing Company in North Charleston, SC.
The petition was filed after a significant number of Boeing workers signed authorization cards expressing interest in union representation. Workers at Boeing had reached out to the IAM regarding numerous workplace concerns, including forced overtime, fair wages and a lack of respect on the shop floor.
“We’re trying to build a better life for ourselves, our families and our community,” said four-year Boeing employee Gerald Guerena. “We feel the best way to do this is with a collective bargaining agreement that allows us to negotiate with the company over wages, benefits, safety procedures and more.”
Efforts by Boeing workers to form a union have already been met with stiff resistance from Boeing management and outside political forces looking to advance their own agendas. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley recently used her State of the State address to attack the IAM and the Boeing workers who are seeking union representation.
“Boeing workers have a legal right to an election process that is free of intimidation and harassment,” said IAM lead organizer Mike Evans. “This is their decision and their decision alone. We expect Governor Haley and her friends, who have no clue what it’s like to be a front-line production employee for Boeing, to keep their personal biases to themselves and remain neutral in the weeks leading up to the union vote.”
The NLRB is expected to issue election dates and locations in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the IAM will continue to help Boeing employees educate their co-workers on their workplace rights.

The IAM is the U.S.’s largest aerospace union, representing approximately 90,000 workers at Lockheed Martin, General Electric, United Technologies and others. The IAM also represents more than 35,000 Boeing employees at 24 locations nationwide. For more information visit www.boeingworkers.com.