Boeing Machinists: Labor complaint good for Charleston workers

Leaders for the local Machinists union say the National Labor Relations Board complaint against Boeing is a good thing for the company’s workers in Charleston.

Last week, the NLRB’s general counsel issued a complaint against Boeing, saying the company violated labor law in selecting the Charleston, S.C., site over Washington state for the second 787 line. The company’s pick is viewed as an act of retaliation against Puget Sound area Machinists for labor strikes. Boeing said it will vigorously defend its decision.

In the Machinists’ monthly newsletter, the union applauds the labor board’s action. Tom Wroblewski, 751 district president, says the labor board’s complaint against Boeing is good for the company’s workers in Charleston, too.

From the May 2011 Aero Mechanic:

Boeing’s workers in Charleston have also been victims of intimidation and coercion by the company.
That’s because the company’s decision to move an assembly line there came after it was made clear that the only way they could ensure their future with the 787 would be if they left the Machinists Union — forcing them to sacrifice their collective bargaining rights to have a chance at more jobs.

The NLRB complaint could help them regain those lost rights, Wroblewski said. “Should they ever decide to form a union again, the Charleston workers could do it knowing that Boeing couldn’t retaliate against them for seeking better pay, benefits and working conditions.”

A couple other tidbits from the Machinists’ monthly publication:

  • The Machinists say Boeing hasn’t been willing to talk about its future in the Puget Sound area since the Charleston decision. (page 4)
  • Machinist Pam Harris, a toolmaker in Fredrickson, says she’s nervous about contract talks between Boeing and the union next year: “I think they’re going to do something to force us on strike and then they’re going to cry about how ‘We can’t do anything here because of the unions.’”
  • Jared Moschkau, a union CNC machine operator in Auburn, says workers can read threats into Boeing’s decision where it places state-of-the-art tooling. “They give (Charleston) the investment to allow them to succeed. …They allow our tools to fail. It’s almost part of their plan.”

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