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Union holds rally ahead of Boeing vote

Photo Courtesy of The Boeing Company
787 Dreamliner planes are assembled at the Boeing South Carolina site in North Charleston.

The International Association of Machinists union is in the final stretch of its campaign for workers to organize at Boeing. Monday afternoon workers and union supporters gathered at a North Charleston hotel two days ahead of the vote.

38-year-old quality inspector at Boeing Lawrence Lynch is optimistic about a union win. 

“There are numerous things that are wrong that workers at Boeing have asked the leadership to change or look into and sometimes they blatantly just ignore everything.” said Lynch. “That is the reason I am voting yes for the union,”

Lynch said that he would of course like more money, but for him the vote is about respect - one of the three tenets of the IAM’s campaign. The union is promising nearly 3,000 workers at Boeing respect, wages and consistency. The IAM reports it represents 35,000 workers at 24 Boeing locations around the country. 

Boeing wants to keep South Carolina from joining that group. The company says it pays to market and prefers a direct relationship with employees. South Carolina has the lowest union participation rate in the country.  

Politicians have wooed companies to locate here with that statistic.

On a visit to Charleston, Senator Lindsey Graham said Boeing relocated to South Carolina because it is cheaper to do business here.

“Let me tell you what is best for South Carolina. Is that Boeing stays here and grows,” Graham said. “If you destroy the business model that led Boeing to come to South Carolina. We all lose.”

The vote is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15.