Features, Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, National, Transportation

NLRB Sets ‘Micro-Unit’ Union Vote at South Carolina Boeing Plant

June 3, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.—The National Labor Relations Board ruled May 21 that 178 flight-readiness technicians and inspectors at Boeing’s plant in South Carolina can vote on whether to join the International Association of Machinists. The board scheduled the election for May 31, but Boeing plans to appeal the ruling. The company argues that any unionization vote should include all 3,000 production employees, who went against joining the Machinists by a 3–1 margin last year. The NLRB accepted the union’s argument that the flight-line workers, who prepare planes for test flights, are different enough from regular production workers to be a separate bargaining unit, as they need licenses to qualify for the job and get different training and clothing. The Machinists’ move echoes that of United Auto Workers Local 42, which organized a “micro-unit” of skilled maintenance workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant in 2015, a year and a half after production workers had rejected union representation. Read more

June 3, 2018

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