Machinists Hail NLRB Complaint Over Boeing South Carolina Move


Washington, D.C., April 20, 2011 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today welcomed the decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to issue a complaint charging the Boeing Company with illegal retaliation against Boeing employees in the Puget Sound area. According to the NLRB, Boeing’s conduct was “inherently destructive” of rights guaranteed to workers.

Click here to view full text of the NLRB decision.

The NLRB’s complaint is in response to an Unfair Labor Practice charge filed by IAM District 751, which represents more than 25,000 Boeing employees in Washington state. The IAM charge cites repeated statements by senior Boeing executives that lawful, protected activity was the “overriding” factor in the decision to locate a 787 assembly line in South Carolina.

“Boeing’s decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights,” said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski. “Federal labor law is clear: it’s illegal to threaten or penalize workers who engage in concerted activity.”

As a remedy for the legal violation, the federal agency is seeking a judicial order requiring Boeing to operate the second 787 line, including supply lines, with IAM members in the Puget Sound.

The decision by Boeing to locate a 787 assembly line in South Carolina followed years of 787 production delays and an extraordinary round of mid-contract talks in which the IAM proposed an 11-year agreement to provide Boeing with the labor stability it claimed was necessary to keep 787 production in the Puget Sound area.

Despite the IAM offer, Boeing walked away from the talks and signed an agreement with South Carolina that included nearly $900 million in incentives and tax relief in exchange for building a 787 line in North Charleston, South Carolina.

“Boeing’s current management needs to rethink its strategy of repeatedly alienating its most valuable asset: the highly-skilled workers who build Boeing aircraft,” said Michalski. “We will not allow our members to be made scapegoats for any purpose.”

The IAM represents more than 35,000 Boeing workers and is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America, with nearly 700,000 active and retired members in dozens of industries. For more information about the IAM, visit

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