North Charleston, SC, April 17, 2015 – Citing a toxic environment and gross violations of workers’ lawful organizing rights, the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) today withdrew its petition with the NLRB for an April 22 union election at the Boeing Company in North Charleston, SC. The decision pushes the date for a subsequent election forward by at least six months and was made after IAM organizers conducted home visits with more than 1,700 Boeing workers.
The petition for a union election was filed on March 16, 2015 after a significant number of Boeing workers signed authorization cards expressing interest in union representation. Workers at Boeing had reached out to the IAM regarding numerous workplace concerns, including forced overtime, rising health care costs and a lack of respect on the shop floor.
“After speaking with Boeing workers who we were previously unable to reach, we’ve determined now is not the right time for an election,” said lead IAM organizer Mike Evans. “An atmosphere of threats, harassment and unprecedented political interference has intimidated workers to the point we don’t believe a free and fair election is possible.”
In addition to filing Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges, the IAM recently suspended home visits after two organizers were threatened at gunpoint and others reported hostile and near-violent confrontations.
“The right to organize is a legally protected civil right and no one who chooses to exercise that right in North Charleston, SC should fear for their life or safety,” said Evans. “I hold the Boeing Company, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and their surrogates responsible for creating an atmosphere of state-sanctioned hostility toward unions and union organizers.”
The IAM will continue to work with Boeing workers and members of the Charleston community to further communicate the benefits of collective bargaining for workers and their local economies. Efforts will also be made to dispel the misinformation spread by Boeing and their allies over recent weeks.
“Boeing workers reached out to us initially because they wanted to be treated fairly on the job and build a better, more secure life for themselves and their families,” said Evans. “Boeing’s campaign of rumors and threats may have succeeded in delaying this election, but the fight to win collective bargaining rights for thousands of Boeing South Carolina workers is far from over.”
The IAM is North America’s largest aerospace union, representing more than 90,000 workers at Lockheed Martin, GE, United Technologies and others. The IAM also represents more than 35,000 Boeing employees at 24 locations nationwide. For more information visit www.boeingworkers.com.