A union seeking to represent workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plants may postpone an upcoming election to gain more time to organize workers at the plants.
The International Association of Machinists said this week it is canvassing the 3,000 workers at Boeing plants in North Charleston, South Carolina, to determine if an election now set for April 22 might be won by the union.
If support is too weak, the union may postpone the election to allow it more time to rally support among the South Carolina workers. The union organizing effort has encountered strong opposition from Boeing and from South Carolina politicians. South Carolina ranks second among states with the least proportion of union workers. The state has used its nearly union-free status to attract companies like Boeing to build plants there.
If the union holds the election and loses, it must wait a year before seeking another election under federal law. If it seeks a postponement, it can hold an election in six months.
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The IAM is Boeing’s largest union in the Puget Sound area representing some 30,000 workers in Boeing assembly plants in Renton and Everett and in Boeing parts plants in Frederickson in Pierce County, in Kent and Auburn.
The union has struck Boeing twice since the turn of the century in Washington.