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Vote Withdrawal at Boeing Could Mean Tougher Road Ahead for Machinists Union


Mike Carrouth was quoted in The Post and Courier on April 17, 2015. The article “Vote Withdrawal at Boeing Could Mean Tougher Road Ahead for Machinists Union” discussed how the International Association of Machinists isn’t giving up on efforts to hold a union election for Boeing Co. workers in North Charleston and how the chances of a union victory are now lower than ever.

Mike said the IAM’s future “will be extremely hard” now that next week’s vote has been canceled.

“Boeing’s workers, whether they supported the union or not, were looking forward to resolving this issue with a vote on April 22,” said Mike, who has worked against union organizing campaigns across the country. “Workers are disappointed, and they’re going to remember that they had a chance to let the majority decide but the union took it away.”

Carrouth said organizing Boeing workers is a long-term business issue for the IAM, while most workers see it as a more immediate and personal decision.

“Workers have learned a valuable lesson here — it’s all about the union and not the employees,” he said. “The process can be manipulated so the union won’t have to take a loss.”

Mike said the withdrawal, instead of delaying the vote with a complaint, indicates the IAM wants the next vote to be scheduled under new NLRB rules that call for expedited elections. Previously, it could take up to six weeks for a vote to be held once a petition is filed. Under the new rules, approved this month, a vote could be scheduled in two weeks.

Companies are held to a much higher legal standard regarding what they can say about union organizing once a petition is filed, called the “critical period.” Mike said that gives unions an advantage, because they are not held to the same standards.

Mike called the union’s claims of violence a “face-saving” measure. He said there is no doubt the IAM will file another petition to hold a union election at Boeing. An estimate by Boeing showed the union could make up to nearly $1.6 million per year in dues based on current salary levels at the North Charleston facilities.

“They will have to continue trying to organize these operations because their long-term survival depends on it,” Mike said. “They have no choice. They’ll die if they don’t.”

To read the full article, please visit The Post and Courier.


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