March 21, 2016
By Steven Wishnia
North Charleston, SC – The union workers who build 787 Dreamliner planes at Boeing’s factory in Everett, Washington average $8 an hour more than nonunion workers in North Charleston, South Carolina make for the same work—but the company is arguing that if they joined the International Association of Machinists, they wouldn’t get much of a raise.
The Machinists, Boeing South Carolina said in a statement March 11, are using “wages paid in a market 3,000 miles away, trying to create the impression that unionizing in South Carolina would yield a compensation windfall.” While Everett workers average $31.04 an hour and North Charleston’s $23, the company said that IAM-represented workers in the South make less—$11.70 to $18.50 at a Spirit AeroSystems plant in rural North Carolina—and wages have to be “competitive within the local market.” “Although the work performed is 3,000 miles apart, it requires the same skill and ability to be successful,” responded Connie Kelliher, a spokesperson for IAM District Lodge 751, which represents the Everett workers. Union workers in Boeing’s Puget Sound plants can make $45.39 after six years, she added. Read more