Boeing, Machinists Union Reach Deal that Leaves South Carolina Plant Intact
December 8, 2011 - 8:45 am
And the union has asked the NLRB to drop its lawsuit against Boeing.
Under the terms of the deal, union workers get job security from the contracts to build Boeing’s new 737 MAX airplane, 700 of which have already been ordered, along with the 3,000 original 737s currently on backorder.
Boeing gets the go-ahead to start production of it’s 787 Dreamliner at it’s newly-built South Carolina facility without the threat of the NLRB forcing them to close because of unfair labor practices.
“We’eve had problems in the past and this is a new era, a new paradigm of how we will be working together going forward,” said Boeing’s labor spokesman Tim Healy. “An agreement like this doesn’t change overnight what’s taken years to develop, but it’s an extremely positive first step.”
The NLRB dispute revolves around Boeing’s decision to build some of the 787 Dreamliners, which are currently being assembled in Washington where workers are unionized, at a new facility in South Carolina, a right to work state. The South Carolina plant would add 1,000 new jobs in a state where unemployment rate currently sits at 10.5 percent, 1.5 percentage points above the national average.
It sounds like a good deal, but the NLRB lawsuit never should have happened. Companies considering expanding or opening operations in right to work states have been put on notice that they’re likely to face expensive, possibly debilitating lawsuits from the unions and labor’s allies on the board. Well, ally, since SEIU’s Craig Becker will leave the board at the end of the year. It’ll be interesting to see who the president sends up to replace him.