Today, a Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a ruling that will permit the micro-unit petition filed by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) in March to proceed to a vote. Boeing is going to appeal this ruling, because we strongly believe that it is prohibited under federal law. While the timeline for the appeal process is uncertain, the petition will proceed and a vote date has been scheduled for May 31, 2018.
It is vital that all BSC teammates, and especially the nearly 180 Flight Line Readiness Technicians (FRTs) and Flight Line Readiness Technician Inspectors (FRTIs) who would be a part of the proposed unit, understand the gravity of this situation. A yes vote for the IAM by our Flight Line teammates could have potentially significant, long-term consequences for all of our teammates (particularly those in the proposed bargaining unit), our site, our business and our community.
Over the next 10 days Boeing will share all of the facts that our Flight Line teammates, their families and our community need to know about bargaining as a micro-unit so that they fully understand the reality of what is in front of them before they make this pivotal decision:
- This micro-unit – roughly six percent of the BSC production workforce – would have little bargaining leverage. While Boeing would bargain in good faith, no company is obligated to improve wages or benefits just because a union asks. Ask yourself: would it make sense for a company to agree to something better for roughly six percent of the workforce, at the expense of the other 94 percent?
- The union will say its leverage is a strike. If a strike is called, your pay and benefits stop, and you are expected to walk the picket line to qualify for the minimal weekly funds the union offers. You may be called a “scab” or “free rider” if you cross the picket line to support your family, and in most cases, the company can bring in permanent replacement workers to fill the struck jobs.
- A micro-unit contract could also leave some of our Flight Line teammates at greater risk of layoff. If, for example, the company lost the flexibility to move Flight Line teammates to other parts of the site, it may have no choice but to layoff some teammates when work slows.
- Boeing could decide to bring in replacement workers or outsource flight line and delivery operations if it cannot reliably deliver airplanes from BSC. Boeing fully intends to meet its customer commitments.
- You can’t just “try out” a union. Throwing a union out is called “decertification” and it’s a complex legal process – one that the company cannot assist employees with. Once voted in, it’s extremely hard to get rid of a union, and you are stuck with the contract.
- The IAM has no reason to care what kind of contract you get. All they want is a foot in the door at BSC, and your dues. Once they have those two things, their interest will fade quickly. Ask yourself what motivates the IAM’s interest in BSC. Is it our teammates’ interests, or their desire to protect the 30,000+ Puget Sound IAM members, even at the expense of our South Carolina Flight Line. They may even have an incentive to take you out on strike.
Our position on this issue has not changed and will not change: we strongly believe that this micro-unit is prohibited under federal labor law and is not in the best interests of our teammates, their families, our site and our community. We will share facts and information with you throughout the process, answering your questions and listening to your concerns as we work together to identify opportunities to make our site the best place to work in South Carolina.