MIL-OSI USA: Brown, Sanders Urge Boeing to End Practice of Firing & Intimidating Workers Who Have Elected to Unionize

By   /  December 15, 2018  /  Comments Off on MIL-OSI USA: Brown, Sanders Urge Boeing to End Practice of Firing & Intimidating Workers Who Have Elected to Unionize

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Source: United States Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today wrote a letter to Boeing in which they urged the company to stop any efforts to intimidate, harass, or terminate their employees as an effort to undermine their federally protected right to join a union. In June, Boeing flight readiness technicians in North Charleston, South Carolina elected to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), and proceeded to select representatives to ensure their voices are heard at the negotiating table. However, Boeing continues to challenge this election and has instead pursued a campaign of intimidation against the flight readiness technicians. In fact, six of the technicians have been terminated at the plant.

“It is alarming that instead of negotiating with the IAMAW, Boeing has instead pursued a campaign of intimidation against the flight readiness technicians. We understand that six of the technicians have been terminated at the plant.  We understand further that all were involved in the successful effort of the flight readiness technicians to form a union and elect the IAMAW as their representative in collective bargaining. According to the union, terminations of flight readiness technicians are extremely rare. Before the recent terminations, only one had been fired since the plant opened in 2015. In contrast, the recent rash of firings has taken place in a two-month period,” the Senators wrote in their letter.

Brown and Sanders urged Boeing to drop these tactics, reinstate the six terminated workers, recognize their chosen representative in the IAMAW, and begin collective bargaining immediately.

In August, Brown led a group of 23 Senators in urging Boeing to drop its appeal of the election where Boeing flight technicians in North Charleston successfully elected union leadership to represent their interests. In that letter, Brown called Boeing’s attempt to appeal the election and undermine its results an attack on workers’ rights to have their voices heard, and said Boeing should instead immediately begin its contract negotiations with workers through their elected representation.

A copy of the Senators’ letter to Boeing appears below and HERE.

December 14, 2018

Dennis Muilenburg

Chairman, President and CEO

The Boeing Company

100 North Riverside

Chicago, Illinois 60606

Dear Mr. Muilenburg:

We write today to express our grave concern with the treatment of several workers at your North Charleston, South Carolina facility.  We urge you to stop any efforts to intimidate, harass, or terminate your employees as an effort to undermine their federally protected right to join a union. 

We are disappointed that, despite widespread opposition among United States Senators, Boeing continues to challenge the May 31, 2018 election in which North Charleston flight readiness technicians and inspectors chose the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) to represent them and collectively bargain on their behalf.  The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) expressly permits the Board to decide that units smaller than plant-wide units are appropriate for bargaining (See 29 U.S.C. §159(b)).  Even under the employer-friendly test for evaluating bargaining units articulated in PCC Structurals (365 NLRB No. 160, 2017), the unit consisting of flight readiness technicians and inspectors is clearly appropriate because those workers share a community of interest sufficiently distinct from other Boeing employees outside the unit.  As we wrote in August, we urge the company to drop the appeal and begin collective bargaining with the workers’ chosen representative.

It is alarming that instead of negotiating with the IAMAW, Boeing has instead pursued a campaign of intimidation against the flight readiness technicians.  We understand that six of the technicians have been terminated at the plant.  We understand further that all were involved in the successful effort of the flight readiness technicians to form a union and elect the IAMAW as their representative in collective bargaining.  According to the union, terminations of flight readiness technicians are extremely rare.  Before the recent terminations, only one had been fired since the plant opened in 2015.  In contrast, the recent rash of firings has taken place in a two-month period.  

In our view, it is no coincidence that all of the workers who were recently fired openly support the union, and we believe the IAMAW that the justifications for the firings are spurious.  As you are well aware, it is illegal to harass, intimidate, or terminate workers for exercising their right to collectively bargain (See 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)). We know the NLRB will consider the unfair labor practice charges filed by the union in response to these attacks.  The flight technicians, however, should not have to wait throughout that process to be reinstated and to collectively bargain. 

We strongly urge you to drop these tactics, reinstate the six terminated workers, recognize their chosen representative in the IAMAW, and begin collective bargaining immediately.  It is in Boeing’s interest to invest in its workers instead of attacking them. 

Sincerely,

Sherrod Brown

U.S. Senator

Bernie Sanders

U.S. Senator

MIL OSI USA News

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