February 19, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
North Charleston SC – Workers at Boeing’s South Carolina facilities voted Feb. 15 against being represented by the International Association of Machinists, by a margin of almost 3 to 1 out of about 2,800 ballots cast.
“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” IAM lead organizer Mike Evans said in a statement. “But more than anything, we are disheartened they will have to continue to work under a system that suppresses wages, fosters inconsistency, and rewards only a chosen few.” The Machinists had argued that the nonunion workers in North Charleston get paid about one-third less than the company’s union workers in the Puget Sound area. But they were organizing in hostile territory. In the week between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6, Boeing and the South Carolina Manufacturers Institute ran more than 700 anti-union ads on local TV, including one during the Super Bowl. The company also held mandatory meetings for workers and played anti-union messages on TV screens in break rooms. Hope Wroblewski, a manufacturing technician who told the Washington Post she planned to vote against the union, said she was worried that she’d be called a freeloader if she refused to pay dues, or a scab if she crossed a picket line during a strike. Read more