Petition Details

The IAM has requested an election that would include only teammates in the following classifications: All full-time hourly DEJ1 flight line repair technicians (FRT) and DEJ1 flight line repair technician inspectors (FRTI).


Boeing believes federal law prohibits this micro-unit petition, and we are challenging it accordingly.The National Labor Relations Board will make the decision as to whether to have an election, and who will be eligible to vote if an election is held.

A “micro-unit” is a term used to describe a smaller group of employees within a larger workplace that a union seeks to represent.

The IAM has not announced why it has suddenly decided to go after a group that does not include all teammates at Boeing South Carolina (BSC). One reason may be that their membership continues to decline and they are desperate for money. It’s no secret that the IAM is also desperate to get a “foot in the door” at BSC in any way they can.

Boeing is challenging the union’s micro-unit petition because the unit as defined by the IAM petition is not legally appropriate. Also, it would not be a good thing for any Boeing South Carolina teammate to have one group isolated in a union. If one small group were unionized, their wages, hours, and other conditions of employment would remain status quo pending good faith negotiations with their union. Potential changes and improvements applied to other teammates could not be given to that isolated group until after negotiations, and would still be subject to the outcome of the negotiations. No one can predict what the outcome of those negotiations would be, as unions always bring their own self-interests (like dues collection) to the table. Boeing believes that we are one team and we should all move forward together without the interference of a union.

The National Labor Relations Board will review Boeing’s challenge to this petition and will likely schedule a hearing to decide the issue.

Union Representation

Boeing does not believe this micro-unit petition, or any IAM representation at Boeing South Carolina, is in our teammates’ best interests. We are particularly concerned in this instance about one group being isolated from the rest of the team. Additionally, we believe this micro-unit petition is prohibited by federal law and we are challenging it accordingly.

We believe that a union is not in the best interest of our teammates, our business or our community. We simply want individuals to make a fully informed decision based on all the facts, not just the information that the union has presented. For those of you that have not worked in a union environment, you need to know how a seniority system works, how your money would be used, what happens during a strike, and what effect a union has on flexibility and competitiveness before you can make a fully informed decision. Finally, you need to know what a union can actually deliver or guarantee – very little.

You have the right to obtain all of the information that you can about the IAM, and your supervisor, manager or Human Resources representative will assist you in getting this information. You have the right to deny union organizers access to your home. You have the right to be free from harassment by union organizers or supporters. You have the right to ask the union to put its promises to you in writing. You have the right to express your opinions, for or against unionization and most importantly, you have the right to vote no in a union election if one occurs.

You would lose the right to speak for yourself. The union’s leaders would decide what terms it would request from the company. It would be illegal for the company to deal directly with you on “wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” Furthermore, any deal that the union might make regarding work rules, job-bidding rights, or anything else would apply to everyone in the bargaining unit, even if you didn’t like it and didn’t vote for it or the union.
During negotiations, the union may ask for something that’s important only to them such as dues check-off (making sure they get union dues in the contract) or super-seniority for shop stewards and you might find something you personally like being traded away in return.
Everything. If a union were to be voted in, the fact is that all terms and conditions of employment are determined through the collective bargaining process. It is an uncertain process, and nobody can predict the outcome. What is certain is that everything our teammates have now would be subject to that collective bargaining process if a union were voted in. There are no guarantees with collective bargaining. A company must bargain in good faith with a union, but there is no law that can compel a company to agree to union demands. The company is free to say no to any union demand that the company believes is not in its best interest, and the union has no ability to force a change. If you have more questions, you can talk to your manager or email us at [email protected]

Not true. The International President, the Grand Lodge (International Union), and the 200-page IAM Constitution call the shots.

“SEC. 3. The government and superintendence of all L.Ls. [Local Lodges], D.Ls. [District Lodges], councils and conferences, shall be vested in this G.L. [Grand Lodge] as the supreme head of all such lodges under its jurisdiction. To it shall belong the authority to determine the customs and usages in regard to all matters relating to craft. It is the obligation and responsibility of every member, officer, L.L., D.L., council, conference, or other subordinate body of the I.A.M. to comply with the provisions of this Constitution and the decisions of the G.L. officers in conformity therewith….(Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, page 2)

In fact, the National Labor Relations Board has said: “Under the National Labor Relations Act, a union is free to negotiate and make binding agreements, with or without the consent or ratification of bargaining unit employees.”

Only if you are paid up on all your financial obligations to the union. Here’s what the IAM constitution says:

“Members who fail to pay their dues, assessments, or other fees within the periods required by this Constitution or the bylaws of the L.L. or D.L. will be subject to automatic cancellation of membership. Members who are not in good standing are not entitled to any voice or vote or participation in any of the affairs of the G.L. or any of its subordinate bodies except as otherwise ARTICLE II 9 permitted under this Constitution.” (Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, page 9)

You’d have to pay union dues, and any additional assessments or fees levied:

“Whenever the term “good standing” is used with reference to a member in this Constitution, it shall mean any person who has fulfilled the requirements for membership as prescribed herein and who has not voluntarily withdrawn therefrom, become ineligible for continued membership, or been suspended or expelled as provided in this Constitution or in the bylaws of subordinate lodges approved as required under this Constitution.” (Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, page 9)

South Carolina is a Right to Work state, and under the Right to Work law you cannot be required to join the union or pay dues in order to keep your job if a union is voted in. But the IAM would represent all employees in the bargaining unit, whether they join or not, and any negotiated contract would apply to everyone in the voting group. And you will have no voice:

Under the Right to Work law, if a union is voted in, you cannot be required to join the union or pay dues in order to keep your job. But the IAM would represent all employees and any negotiated contract would apply to everyone, in the voting group. And you will have no voice:

  • Only dues paying members are allowed to vote on whether to accept the negotiated contract or go on strike.
  • “Only dues paying members are allowed to vote on union officers and shop stewards.

Unions in Right to Work states sometimes make it hard on employees who refuse to join. Non-dues payers are sometimes harassed and called “free riders” by union supporters.

Having a union at Boeing South Carolina will affect you whether you become a member and pay dues or not!

That will come as a shock to the many IAM members who have had to file Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the union for hitting them with significant monetary fines. The truth is that the IAM Constitution very clearly authorizes Local Lodges (L.L.) to require all sorts of additional money from members, and to pursue them by all legal means:

“Fines or other levies within the authority of a L.L. to make shall be due within 30 days after levied. If not paid within that time, the S.T. shall notify those in arrears in writing, by registered mail, at the last known address, with copy of same to the G.S.T. Should they fail to make payment within 60 days from the date of such written notice, their membership may be cancelled regardless of the date to which their dues are paid.”Initiation fees, reinstatement fees, dues and fines shall constitute a legal liability by a member to the L.L. The cost of litigation arising from charges against a member by reason of such liabilities shall constitute a legal debt payable by such member.” (Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, page 91)

The union would have the power to reprimand, fine or suspend you from membership. They could even kick you out of the union altogether. Here is what the union constitution says:

“The following actions or omissions shall constitute misconduct by a member which shall warrant a reprimand, fine, suspension and/or expulsion from membership … Refusal or failure to perform any duty or obligation imposed by this Constitution; the established policies of the I.A.M.; the valid decisions and directives of any officer or officers thereof; or, the valid decisions of the E.C. or the G.L. convention.” (Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, pages 146-147)

The union can reprimand, fine, suspend or expel you. The IAM 2017 Constitution states:

“The following actions or omissions shall constitute misconduct by a member which shall warrant a reprimand, fine, suspension and/or expulsion from membership … encouraging secession from the IAM; advocating or encouraging or attempting to inaugurate any dual labor movement; or supporting movements or organizations inimical to the interest of the I.A.M. or its established laws and policies.” (Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, pages 146-147)

Yes. Signing a union card or petition can authorize a union to act as your agent in bargaining over wages, hours, and working conditions. The cards can also serve to support union elections held by the NLRB. You may have been told that you were just signing up to get information or perhaps you did not have all the facts before you signed. Now that you have learned more about the issue, you may be wondering whether you can revoke your signed card. Because the question was raised, here is a procedure, including a letter you could send if you choose to exercise your right to get your card back:

NOTE: DO NOT send a copy of the letter to any Company supervisors or managers! We do not want to know who signed a card or who has made the confidential decision to revoke their card. That is up to you.

Example letter:

International Association of Machinists International Headquarters
9000 Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

IAM Southern Territory Regional Office
690 E. Lamar Blvd., Suite 580
Arlington, TX 76011

Dear Sir/Madam:

I write to revoke and rescind any union “authorization” card, or any other indication of support for your union, that I may have signed in the past. Effective immediately, any such card, authorization or indication of support for your union is null and void. I do not wish to be represented by, or belong to, your organization.

Please return to me any union authorization card that I may have signed; or otherwise confirm in writing that you are honoring this revocation and rescission of support for your union.


No one knows the answer to that question. With a union, seniority and bumping rights, just like all other terms and conditions of employment, are on the table and subject to bargaining. Collective bargaining is an uncertain, and potentially risky, process. There are no guarantees with collective bargaining. A company must bargain in good faith with a union, but there is no law that can compel a company to agree to union demands. If you have more questions, you can talk to your manager or email us at [email protected]

Pay & Benefits

No. If the union suggests it can get you a pay increase, ask them to put it in a written guarantee signed by the union President. The union may want you to believe that you will get Seattle wages in South Carolina, but they have not guaranteed that in writing and have not promised to make up the difference if they fail. In fact, in the December 2014 issue of The Leading Edge, the IAM’s newsletter targeting Boeing South Carolina teammates, the IAM stated very clearly that any contract at Boeing South Carolina would be completely independent from that of IAM 751 in Washington state and Oregon. The reason: Collective bargaining is a very uncertain process. Unions can ask for anything but the law does not require a company to agree to union demands. In fact, IAM contracts closer to home in Alabama and North Carolina aren’t anywhere close to the IAM 751 wage scale.

If you research the IAM’s most recent ratified collective bargaining agreements with aerospace companies across the United States (including Boeing), you’ll find that wages are negotiated based on local labor markets. The IAM itself admits to this fact in the contract they negotiated with an aerospace company in Kinston, N.C. Boeing South Carolina teammates are doing extremely well when compared to what the IAM has negotiated for other aerospace companies in our region, including at Boeing in Huntsville. You can click here for a detailed comparison.

The IAM will promise anything to get teammates to sign a card, but they can’t guarantee they’ll be able to deliver. If the IAM is telling you they can get you the same wages as Puget Sound, we suggest you ask them to guarantee it in writing. There are no guarantees with collective bargaining. It is an uncertain process, and no one can guarantee an outcome. A company must bargain in good faith with a union, but there is no law that can compel a company to agree to union demands.

No. There is no guarantee in collective bargaining. Boeing South Carolina teammates have worked a lot of overtime over the past few years – that’s true. The fact is, 787 employees in Everett, those already represented by the IAM, are working similar overtime hours as Boeing South Carolina teammates. It’s not uncommon on a new program, especially one as technologically-advanced as the 787, to see surges in overtime as new models are introduced or engineering changes are incorporated into the airplane build process. It is a natural part of growing new business as vibrantly as we have here in South Carolina.

Nevertheless, we remain strongly committed to continuing to find ways to improve work/life balance for our teammates.

No. The union can make all sorts of promises but a company does not have to agree to any demands that are not good for the company, would not be a good business practice or might even be harmful to the company. There’s no way the union can guarantee promises they’ve made during a campaign will be fulfilled by a company. If the union is voted in, the company would be obligated to bargain with the union over all wages and benefits. But, the union can only get what the company agrees to give after good-faith negotiations. Whether current benefits will continue depends solely on negotiations.

“In the give and take of collective bargaining, the union might give up insurance, holidays, or vacation time to obtain dues check-off from the company.” (Source: NLRB Case: La-Z-Boy Company)

Union Dues / Fines and Assessments

Union dues are typically at least two hours pay per month plus an additional per capita fee, which totals about $800 per year, with no guarantee of getting a better deal in return for those dues.

The IAM’s standard for what it can issue fines for is pretty broad. For example, you can be fined for “any…conduct unbecoming a member of the IAM.” And who decides what that conduct is? The IAM bosses. From the IAM Constitution:

“The following actions or omissions shall constitute misconduct by a member which shall warrant a reprimand, fine, suspension and/or expulsion from membership … Actions constituting a violation of the provisions of this Constitution, or any action which would constitute a violation of the L.L. bylaws. … Any other conduct unbecoming a member of the I.A.M.” (Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, pages 146-147)

Yes, if you cross a picket line and work during a strike:

“The following actions or omissions shall constitute misconduct by a member which shall warrant a reprimand, fine, suspension and/or expulsion from membership …Accepting employment in any capacity in an establishment where a strike or lockout exists as recognized under this Constitution, without permission.” (Source: IAM 2017 Constitution, pages 146-147)

Layoffs and Strikes

No. Ask the more than 1,400 IAM-represented Boeing employees in Puget Sound who were laid off in 2017, the hundreds of thousands of workers who were laid off in the automobile, steel, and other highly unionized industries whether a union prevented their layoffs. Job security is dependent on a company’s ability to win business and remain competitive in the marketplace. Union-represented employees across the country in various industries are currently facing layoffs or have recently been laid off.
That is a question to ask the union. But if the union says it will never strike, make sure you get that in writing. If the company did not agree to the union’s demands, the union might try to pressure the company by going out on strike. It is easy for the union to make all kinds of big promises, but it is something else for the union to fulfill those promises.
No. No work, no pay. The company will not pay regular wages, healthcare, or retirement benefits for the time that employees are on strike. However, while you’re out on strike, union bosses will continue to receive their normal pay, benefits and perks funded by you and other members’ dues.
That would largely depend on the union. The union decides if it will provide strike benefits to its members. When strike benefits are paid, they are usually less than $150 per week. To receive those benefits, union members may be required to walk a picket line.

Work Environment

A union can only get what a company agrees to give after good-faith bargaining. Most contracts provide that a company can discharge employees for just cause. Boeing has always had a policy that it would only discipline or discharge employees for just cause, so the typical union contract would not provide any greater protection than employees already have. We have never seen a contract that would prevent an employer from terminating an employee who did not perform their job or did not report to work, and it is unrealistic for a union to claim that it could provide protection like this.
Absolutely not. The law prohibits a union from restraining or coercing a company in the selection of its supervisors. It is not unusual for there to be some issues among people who work closely together. But the way to deal with problems of this nature is to talk them out together and not bring in a union whose intent is to create a gap between employees and supervisors.
If the union was successful in isolating the flight line, we would try in good faith to negotiate all terms and conditions of that work. However, there are no guarantees about what the outcome of those negotiations would be. Collective bargaining is an uncertain process.

Who is the IAM?

The IAM is the same union that wanted to prevent South Carolina from even building 787s. In March 2010, they filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board challenging Boeing’s decision to put 787 Final Assembly & Delivery in South Carolina. They even stated publicly that they thought we didn’t have the ability to build a plane here in South Carolina.

The IAM represents more than 35,000 members in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. If they were to be successful in unionizing flight-line teammates at Boeing South Carolina, membership in South Carolina would equal only about one-half of one percent of the Puget Sound membership. That’s a perfect example of a “micro-unit.”  Whose interests do you think they would protect most – South Carolina’s or thousands of dues-paying members in other states?

Do you have a question that’s not answered above? Ask here.
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