Do you remember when Boeing moved a production line from union-heavy Washington State to virtually union-free South Carolina a few years ago? Remember how unions were publically outraged? Me too. That’s why I was surprised to see that the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union tried to organize the Boeing South Carolina employees – the same ones the union did not want to have a job a few years ago and labeled as inferior and less skilled than the Washington state employees.
I was not surprised, though, to learn that the IAM withdrew its representation petition for more than 3,000 South Carolina workers. Naturally, IAM filed an unfair labor practice charge against the company the same day it withdrew its election petition.
The IAM released a statement saying that the union decided to cancel the scheduled election based on information learned from union organizers during home visits with 1,700 Boeing workers. The union claims it won’t get a fair election. Could it really be that the IAM learned the South Carolina Boeing employees don’t want to be represented by a union? Union’s don’t withdraw petitions for elections they think they can win.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.