NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) -
A team of Boeing flightline readiness technicians and inspectors have voted to unionize at Boeing's North Charleston campus.
The vote was 104 to 65 to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers. The vote was well above the required 51% needed to pass.
In a video posted on the Machinists Union's Twitter feed, lead organizer Mike Evans said workers "stood up to a Goliath of a company” he accused of running a "nasty campaign."
This only affects the 176 flightline workers at the North Charleston campus where there are a total of 7,000 workers.
Boeing released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“A micro-unit of the Boeing South Carolina Flight Line today voted for unionization by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Boeing continues to believe that this type of micro-unit is prohibited by federal law. While we are deeply disappointed with the result and are appealing, we will come together as we continue to deliver on our customer commitments.”
Boeing had launched a hardline public relations campaign against the vote via social media and advertisements.
Machinists Union International President Bob Martinez Jr. released the following statement on the vote:
The South Carolina Flight Readiness Technicians at Boeing have spoken loud and clear. They want to be a part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. I commend them for the courage and integrity they have demonstrated through this contentious process. I am asking Boeing to respect their freedom to choose and not retaliate against them for expressing their rights. The historic votes cast by the 176 Flight Readiness Technicians are not a collective vote against Boeing; it was a vote for the return of American prosperity. Unions are the best mechanism for protecting the interest of working men and women. When unions and business collaborate, the American economy prospers and all Americans benefit.
Our members work at Boeing plants across the country. We are glad to add the South Carolina plant to the list. Our members build the best products in the world, including Boeing products. I hope the company will accept the results and join us in a dialogue about the future of American industry and the American worker. When we unite, no worker in the world can outperform, drive more innovation, or produce more than the American worker.
Last week the National Labor Relations Board ruled the workers can vote by secret ballot to join.
Workers voted with a simple "yes" or "no" vote on a ballot with yes meaning the voter wants union representation, according to the company.
A similar vote happened in 2017 for all Boeing South Carolina workers with 74 percent opting to remain union free.
A union means the company would be required to bargain, but wouldn't have to comply with any demands made including higher wages.
Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.