Judge Upholds Organizing Rights at South Carolina Plant

The Boeing Company violated the National Labor Relations Act when a manager at the plane maker’s Charleston, SC assembly plant told a Boeing employee he could not discuss union-related matters during working hours. Administrative Law Judge William Nelson Cates ruled that Boeing could not bar employees from talking about union matters during working time if the company allowed discussion of non-union matters during working time.

The IAM filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge on behalf of the Boeing employee earlier this year and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its formal complaint in late June.

In his ruling issued this week, Judge Cates cited established case law in which the NLRB found that “an employer violates the Act when employees are forbidden to discuss unionization, but are free to discuss other subjects unrelated to work, particularly when the prohibition is announced or enforced only in response to specific union activity in an organizational campaign.”

The ruling coincides with increased interest in union organizing at Boeing’s South Carolina assembly plant. The IAM has recently conducted off-site informational meetings to advise employees of their rights to organize without harassment, discrimination or company interference.

Cates ordered Boeing to end the prohibition of discussing union-related matters and ordered the company to notify its employees of their right to organize.