The International Association of Machinists (IAM) union is once again targeting North Charleston Boeing employees for monopoly union representation in their relations with Boeing management. On January 20, 2017, IAM officials filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a Board-conducted secret-ballot representation election at the North Charleston Boeing plant. This is the same union that in 2011 filed unfair labor practice charges against Boeing with the NLRB, seeking to stop Boeing from building the Dreamliner aircraft in South Carolina.

Ironically, after losing that battle IAM officials then decided to seek to represent the same South Carolina employees whom it had earlier fought to prevent Boeing from hiring. In 2015 the Machinists filed a petition for an NLRB representation election, but then withdrew that petition five days before a scheduled election, admitting that it was not certain to win a majority of the employees’ votes. Thus, this is the second time the Machinists have tried to impose exclusive representation upon all of some 2,850 South Carolina Boeing workers, including those who do not desire the union’s representation.

If the Union wins the upcoming election, it would be the “exclusive,” i.e., monopoly, bargaining agent of all South Carolina Boeing employees in the collective bargaining unit in which the election will be held. All employees in that unit, even if they are not union members or vote against the union, would be represented by union officials in dealing with Boeing over their terms and conditions of employment and could not make their own employment contracts or settle their grievances with management on whatever terms they could work out themselves with management. In addition, the union could allow only union members to vote on selection of the union team that negotiates monopoly bargaining contracts between Boeing and the IAM and to vote on ratification of such contracts. Union members, of course, must pay full union dues, including the part that is used for politics, ideological causes, and other nonbargaining activities.

Consequently, you should investigate and study the facts and issues, and consider the arguments presented by both Boeing management and the Machinists, before deciding whether you will vote for or against union representation in the upcoming election.

The Union cannot lawfully threaten or coerce you into voting for it. Moreover, if you oppose the union, you have certain rights to campaign against union representation. If you want to learn more about your legal rights, you can contact a National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney toll free at 1-800-336-3600, or via email to or by clicking here.

For over four decades, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has worked in the courts and administrative agencies, including the NLRB, to expand and protect the rights of individual employees to choose to refrain from union representation and membership. It is the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuse. The Foundation takes no position about how you should exercise your right to join or refrain from joining a union or how you should vote in the upcoming representation election. The Foundation simply wants all employees to be able to make these choices knowingly in an atmosphere free of restraint, threats, and coercion.

If you want to learn more about your legal rights, go to the Foundation’s “Know Your Rights” page or contact a National Right to Work Foundation staff attorney toll free at 1-800-336-3600, or via email or by clicking here.