A small group of employees at Boeing's South Carolina plant voted in favor of unionizing Thursday.
The group of 178 flight line workers at Boeing's plant in North Charleston voted to be unionized by a 104-65 margin, charlestonbusiness.com reported. But the rest of the roughly 7,000 Boeing S.C. workers will not be unionized.
The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers said it will represent the small group of Boeing employees, called a microunit, according to abcnews4.com.
Boeing lost a last-minute request to delay the election, and said it will appeal the union's ability to represent the flight line group because it is in violation of U.S. labor law, postandcourier.com reported.
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“Boeing continues to believe that this type of microunit is prohibited by federal law,” the company said in a statement reported by bloomberg.com. “While we are deeply disappointed with the result and are appealing, we will come together as we continue to deliver on our customer commitments.”
The vote to unionize is a change in South Carolina, where less than 2 percent of the private-sector workforce belonged to a union in 2017 — the smallest number in the U.S., according to Bloomberg Law’s labor data.
In three attempts, this is the only successful vote for labor union representation on Boeing’s North Charleston campus, according to charlestonbusiness.com. The first election was for production and maintenance workers in 2015, but the union canceled it days before it was supposed to occur.
In 2017, there was significant opposition to unionizing among Boeing South Carolina employees, with abcnews4.com reporting that nearly three quarters of the 2,828 employees who voted on joining a labor union cast a "no" ballot in IAM’s second bid.
"They stood up to a Goliath of a company," IAM lead organizer Mike Evans said, according to postandcourier.com. "They were in a very nasty campaign where they attacked individuals. We stayed on course with education and opportunity and respect and dignity going forward, and here we are today with a win. We're very excited."
Boeing builds the 787 Dreamliner, and the North Charleston plant is the only place that builds the 787-10, which was introduced in February 2017, when President Donald Trump spoke at the plant.