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23 Senators urge Boeing SC to negotiate with union

On Wednesday, 23 U.S. Senators sent a letter to the president and CEO of Boeing, urging him to begin negotiations with a union in North Charleston.

The letter, which was signed by 22 Democrats and Bernie Sanders, comes after dozens of flight line technicians voted to join the International Association of Machinists (IAM).

"Instead of respecting its workers' choice, Boeing has appealed the election and challenged the legitimacy of the bargaining unit," the letter says.  "We oppose these efforts to deny these workers their right to union representation, and we urge Boeing to drop its appeal and immediately begin collective bargaining with its workers through their selected union representative."

Boeing is challenging the results of the March vote, claiming the group of workers allowed to participate was "artificially gerrymandered."

In a prior vote, about 2,800 Boeing employees in North Charleston rejected a call for unionization.  About 180 employees participated in the most recent vote.

Gov. Henry McMaster says the union's presence would be "about as welcome as a Category 5 hurricane."

IAM represents 35,000 Boeing employees at a number of different locations.   The Senators who signed the letter say the company's accomplishments would not have been possible without the skills, dedication, and ingenuity of union members.

"I want to thank each of these Senators for standing up for the rights of working people," said Robert Martinez Jr., president of Machinists Union International.  "We hope this effort will encourage Boeing to finally negotiate with its South Carolina Flight Lineand agree on a contract that will make the company and the entire aerospace industry stronger."

A Boeing spokesperson released the following statement:

"We continue to strongly believe that this micro-unit is prohibited under federal law and we are appealing to the NLRB under the established process. We do not intend to recognize the IAM as the lawful representative of our teammates while the appeal is pending. While the Flight Line appeal process unfolds, our teams and teammates will continue to build and deliver great airplanes, working closely together as we always have. "




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