Sunday, May 04, 2014

No vote set yet for union trying to organize Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston

 With a union hall in place now to recruit Boeing South Carolina workers to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, it was just a matter of time before talk of a vote to organize materialized.

Though there's some talk of a vote coming in July, IAM spokesman Frank Larkin said that's all it is for now - speculation.

"There have not been any filings that would trigger an election," he said. "I don't expect anything to break one way or another certainly within the next month."

Union representatives are still trying to educate workers on the benefits of joining the group and there are many other steps that must take place before an election can be called.

The IAM has to obtain a certain number of authorization cards from Boeing workers interested in joining, and the size of the group of production workers has to be determined, he said. Once that's done, cards are submitted to the National Labor Relations Board, which would conduct an investigation to determine if certain benchmarks are met before scheduling an election. The NLRB also would conduct the election.

"There is no reason to speculate a date until all of these other steps are taken," Larkin said.

The IAM opened its union hall in March on Dorchester Road near the entrance to the Air Force base and has been trying to recruit Boeing workers at the nonunionized North Charleston plant.

Shortly after Boeing bought the former Vought aircraft parts-making operation near Charleston International Airport in 2009, the IAM union at the plant voted to disband. That led the Chicago-based company to decide less than two months later to place a second assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner in North Charleston. The other is in Everett, Wash., in a unionized plant.

Ever since, the IAM has tried to get its foot back in the door.