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Union postpones election at Boeing South Carolina plant (Read More…)

April 17, 2015

The union trying to organize Boeing Co’s South Carolina plant withdrew its petition for an April 22 election, citing “a toxic environment and gross violations of workers’ lawful organizing rights.”

The decision, which delays the date for an election by at least six months, was made after organizers for the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers conducted home visits with more than 1,700 Boeing workers, the union said in a statement on Friday.

The IAM said it withdrew its petition for the vote after two organizers “were threatened at gunpoint” during home visits that began last week. Other organizers reported “hostile and near-violent confrontations,” it said.

About 125 IAM representatives from around the country were conducting the home visits, the union said, adding that it had filed unfair labor practice charges in relation to the organizing drive.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The union said it would continue trying to organize workers at the plant.

“This campaign is a long-term campaign,” said IAM spokesman Frank Larkin. Election drives often “go through two or more election cycles before representation is achieved,” he added.

The National Labor Relations Board determined last month that about 3,000 production and maintenance workers were eligible to vote on whether the IAM should represent them.

Under NLRB rules, the union can repetition for a vote after six months if it withdraws the petition, but must wait 12 months if it holds an election and loses.

Boeing had waged a vigorous campaign against the union, supported by numerous local political leaders. The union had earlier signaled that it might postpone the vote.

An unfair labor practice filing provided to Reuters by the IAM accused Boeing of “deliberately encouraging and promoting harassment, assaults and threats of violence against union supporters” over the last six months. It sought an injunction from the NLRB to stop Boeing.

Investors had voiced little concern about the union drive. Boeing shares were at $149.90 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, down 1.4 percent from $151.97 on Thursday

Posted by Admin on 04/17 at 11:28 AM