March 5, 2018 / 9:46 PM / 18 days ago

Boeing faces new petition for union at South Carolina plant

(Reuters) - Boeing workers at an aircraft factory in South Carolina are seeking union representation, the company said on Monday, about one year after the planemaker defeated a high-profile union drive at the plant.

FILE PHOTO: File Picture: Construction cranes and palm trees line the entrance at South Carolina Boeing in North Charleston, South Carolina December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Boeing said it was the third petition in less than three years filed by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), seeking to unionize workers at the plant that is located in a strongly anti-union state.

The IAM petition also comes a few months after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made it tougher for workers to form unions made up of small groups of employees, reversing an Obama-era decision that had been sharply criticized by businesses.

“The company will challenge this filing because we strongly believe that the IAM’s attempt to isolate our flight line teammates is unreasonable and is prohibited by federal law,” said Joan Robinson-Berry, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina.

No election for union representation will be scheduled until the NLRB resolves the legal challenge, the Chicago-based company said.

About 180 Boeing flightline technicians and inspectors are seeking union representation, the IAM said.

“These employees approached the IAM with serious concerns over arbitrary management decisions over overtime, bonuses and work rules,” an IAM spokesman said via email.

Last year, almost three-quarters of the 2,828 workers at the South Carolina plant who voted rejected union representation in a win for Boeing, which had launched an aggressive campaign against the IAM.

Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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