Boeing, the Machinists and fear and loathing in S.C.

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

Is the Boeing Co. afraid that the Machinists union will organize the South Carolina site?

That depends on your reading of this op-ed, penned by Jack Jones, vice president of Boeing South Carolina.

Jones’ piece appeared in The Post and Courier on Sunday, about a month after representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers held meetings with Boeing workers in North Charleston.

The union said it could hold a vote to unionize Boeing’s facilities within a year.

Jones seeks to downplay a union vote in his op-ed.

“I have trouble believing that Boeing South Carolina teammates could buy what the union’s selling, and there’s no reason they should,” he wrote.

Jones spent several years overseeing the company’s jet delivery center in Everett before taking the South Carolina job in 2011. He emphasized the company’s commitment to South Carolina, saying the company “would never renege on this promise.”

The hubbub between Boeing and the Machinists over South Carolina comes as the company is trying to ramp up 787 production both there and in Everett.

A few key points:

Baseless: That’s how Jones described the lawsuit brought in 2011 against Boeing by the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the Machinists. The lawsuit was dropped only after Boeing agreed to keep future 737 MAX work in Washington. Boeing also recently lost a NLRB case, again brought at the behest of the IAM, in South Carolina.

Disparaging remarks: The Machinists said the workers in South Carolina “weren’t good enough” to build airplanes, Jones wrote. Of course, Boeing is guilty of making similar comments about workers in the South, having insinuated that workers in Mobile, Ala., couldn’t assemble a tricycle.