North Charleston, S.C. (PAI) — In the first-ever use of a 61-year-old Supreme Court decision, the Machinists is suing the National Labor Relations Board for throwing out their union recognition election win among 178 Boeing flight tech workers in North Charleston, S.C.
The suit, filed Nov. 13 in U.S. District Court in Charleston, says the Trump-named three-member GOP NLRB majority illegally overturned Regional Director John Boyle’s approval of the union’s 104-65 win among flight technicians at Boeing’s facilities.
Boyle OKed the vote results, turning aside Boeing challenges, more than a year before, but the board majority reversed him on Sept. 9 15 months after the balloting. That not only violated the Supreme Court’s ruling but hamstrung the union from informational picketing telling the public what was going on, IAM’s suit says.
The Machinists’ suit against the board is the latest chapter in a long-running saga over Boeing’s move of most of its 787 Dreamliner production from its Machinists-unionized plants in the Pacific Northwest to North Charleston.
Boeing’s then-CEO specifically, deliberately and publicly moved the Dreamliner work to union-hostile South Carolina strictly because the Machinists stood up for their 45,000 Boeing members in the Seattle and Everett, Wash., and Portland, Ore.
The board’s Barack Obama-nominee general counsel, after a complaint from IAM about illegal company retaliation, tried to mediate, but Boeing refused to talk. He then filed labor law-breaking – officially called “unfair labor practices” – charges against Boeing.
IAM tried other organizing drives in North Charleston. It had to drop one drive among all the workers in the plant after its organizers were physically threatened, including death threats. So it successfully organized the smaller group, the flight techs.
The Machinists are suing not just the board, but its Republican members as individuals “in their official capacity,” along with – by law – dissenting Democrat Lauren McFarren, even though IAM’s 16-page court brief notes that she disagreed with and voted against her colleagues.