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Boeing Dragged Back Into The Union Fight

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Federal labor board officials approved at union vote Tuesday at the Boeing plants in South Carolina, despite adamant opposition from the company.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) approved the request by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) who are hoping to organize the 3,000 workers at Boeing’s 787 production facility in North Charleston. However, Boeing has been vocally opposed to the idea.

The NLRB set the vote for Apr. 22 after both Boeing and the union agreed to waive a hearing on the matter, reports Reuters.

“This is an important step on the road to a collective bargaining agreement for workers at Boeing South Carolina,” Mike Evans, IAM lead organizer, said in a statement. “This is a chance for Boeing workers and their families to substantially improve their careers and communities. The law provides for a free and fair election without intimidation or harassment and we intend to ensure it is conducted accordingly.”

According to The Associated Press, Candy Eslinger, a spokeswoman for Boeing, said Wednesday that about 3,000 plant workers are eligible to vote out of the 7,500 it employs in South Carolina.

Gov. Nikki Haley last week attacked the union for being hypocritical, noting that it was only several years back it opposed the South Carolina plant from opening.

It was actually a labor dispute that compelled Boeing to open its plant in South Carolina instead of Everett, Wash. Boeing was founded in Seattle. A New York Times article from 2011 notes that the conflict got so bad, the NLRB accused Boeing of illegally setting up shop in South Carolina to escape union organized strikes. However, some lawmakers became concerned that the NLRB telling Boeing they could not move would set a bad precedent.

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