NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Workers at Boeing’s North Charleston plant voted NO to unionization.
Polling places opened early Wednesday morning throughout the aviation giant’s sprawling facility in North Charleston. A second wave of voting took place this afternoon.
The Machinist Union gathered tonight after tallying the results of the vote and said quote:
“We’re disappointed the workers at Boeing South Carolina will not yet have the opportunity to see all the benefits that come with union representation” said IAM lead organizer Mike Evans. “But more than anything, we are disheartened they will have to continue to work under a system that suppresses wages, fosters inconsistency and awards only a chosen few.”
A total of 2,828 of the 3,000 eligible workers cast votes with 74% (2,097) voting in favor of not unionizing.
Boeing said tonight in reference to the results: “We will continue to move forward as one team,” said Joan Robinson-Berry, vice president and general manager of BSC. “We have a bright future ahead of us and are eager to focus on the accomplishments of this great team and to developing new opportunities.
The election was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Under NLRB rules, workers must wait one year before having another vote for union representation. The IAM plans on remaining in close contact with union supporters at Boeing and members of the Charleston community to figure out the best path moving forward.
Nearly 3,000 production workers were eligible to vote in the election to determine if they’ll be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union initially petitioned for a vote in 2015 but called off that election because of what the union called a toxic atmosphere and political interference.
The global aviation giant came to South Carolina in part because of the state’s minuscule union presence. Labor experts say a “yes” vote would have repercussions throughout the South, potentially inspiring other workers to think about unionizing.
In the days ahead of the vote Boeing employees gathered to hear from Union leaders on why they should vote to organize in a state where union membership is the lowest in the country.
Boeing employs about 8,000 workers in the North Charleston facility where it makes the 787 Dreamliner. Engineers in the facility work on everything from electromagnetics and advanced aircraft production to chemical technology.
The work done here is used not only for commercial airlines but in defense and aerospace applications.
South Carolina is a right to work state which means workers can’t be compelled to join unions, even if the organizations represent them.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, South Carolina’s union membership is the lowest in the country at 1.6 percent.
Following the results of this vote, President Trump will be visiting the Boeing facility this Friday to attend the rollout of the first Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.