Boeing Union Issues
There was a lot of information on the websites and in the news article about Boeings attempt to stop a South Carolina union from forming with the IAM. I have a fourth source of information closer to home, my aunt's new husband has worked at Boeing Everett for 20 years. He talks about the time period between 2007 and 2009 when Boeing first said they were going shopping for a new place to build their new plane. Nobody believed them they thought it was a tactic to scare the union into concessions in wages and overtime. It turned out not to be a tactic at all they actually moved and set up shop in South Carolina. There were people that he worked with that had the opportunity to either lose their jobs or move to South Carolina. Almost everyone chose to go to South Carolina instead of taking the pink slip. His job was more secure because he is part of the building electrician team not the airline electrician team. There are very few companies where an electrician can make $90,000 a year and have four weeks of paid vacation and 11 overtime holidays a year. He believes the union is the reason he has this type of life. He is quick to mention though that his union dues are almost $4000 a year. And when there is a large fight going on the union will take an extra $10-$100 because the union coffers are low and everybody has to pitch in even if they don't have the money to spare.
Reading the material the Boeing site is so much more professional and well put together then the IAM site. IAM could learn a lot from Boeing about how to put together information. The IAM union site looks more like an angry blog than a professional organization. The information gets thrown at you and sounds amateurish, not to mention difficult to read. I got to page 4 before I gave up and looked at other sources. On the other hand the Boeing site is clean and clear and sounds authoritative. I'm not sure who to root for in the fight. I feel both sides have profited on the backs of their employees. The union has made some real strides over the years to raise the salaries of their employees. Boeing offers jobs at a much higher rate than most of the private sector.
Boeing is in for an uphill battle because South Carolina is a right to work state. A right to work state prohibits forced dues. And although collective bargaining is legal and gives extensive powers to the unions when the governor of the state is so against unions it would be difficult to find an outside arbiter to vote with the unions demands. And let's not forget that Boeing was so mad at the union in 2007 that they chose to build an entire plant in the middle of South Carolina instead of deal with the Washington IAM union. Boeing flexed its muscle then and they could do it again leaving an empty shell of a building in South Carolina and 7,500 employees hanging in the wind. Boeing is simply too powerful to go against. If I were South Carolina I would vote against the union and be thrilled I had a job.