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Think It's Impossible for Unions to Organize in the South? Think Again


In October 2007, workers at the plant, then a far smaller fuselage plant owned by Boeing supplier Vought Aircraft Industries, voted 67 to 60 to join the IAM. Two years later, in September 2009, after Boeing bought the plant, workers voted to decertify the union by a vote of 199-68. Now the plant employs nearly 7,000 workers who make parts for and assemble the 787 Dreamliner.

In February, the IAM opened an office in North Charleston, an early step in an organizing effort.

Boeing opposes the effort. "As we've said since 2009, we want to work directly with our employees and we're continuously working on keeping Boeing South Carolina a place where teammates have a voice and can speak for themselves without having to rely on a third party to speak for them," said Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger.

"We're very proud of what our teammates have accomplished here in South Carolina by collaborating and working together, and we don't believe a union is in the best interest of our teammates, our business, our community nor our state," she said.

Nevertheless, Wood said, the successful campaign in Corpus Christi "shows you can organize in the South. Union contracts in the South are certainly better than what people are paid when they are non-union."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

To contact this writer, click here.

Follow @tedreednc

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