January 8, 2014 in Business

Boeing workers file complaint with NLRB over union vote

Dominic Gates Seattle Times
 

SEATTLE – Four individual Machinists at Boeing Co. have filed separate complaints with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to overturn the 777X contract extension vote that passed by a slim margin last week.

Anne Pomerantz, NLRB regional attorney, said the agency will investigate the charges, gather evidence and decide if any action is warranted. The process typically takes approximately 12 weeks, she said.

The union members filed the unfair labor practices claims against the national headquarters of the International Association of Machinists, which forced the vote against the wishes of the union’s local district officials.

Pomerantz said the chief complaint is that the vote was scheduled for Jan. 3. Many union members had added a couple of personal days to the regular Boeing winter break and were still on vacation.

Although the union made provisions for absentee ballots to be voted online, only 23,900 members voted out of roughly 32,000 eligible voters, according to a local district union official. In the end, the margin that determined the outcome for accepting the contract was only about 600 votes.

In the ballot that rejected a previous contract offer in early November – when there was no holiday – IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger said that about 27,000 members voted.

The NLRB recently ruled on a separate Boeing labor case in South Carolina.

The agency upheld an unfair labor practice charge against the company for overzealous attempts to restrict the IAM from trying to organize its workforce in North Charleston, S.C.

On Dec. 21, complying with an NLRB order, Boeing formally informed its employees there that “Boeing will not object to employees talking about the (IAM) or any other labor organization” in the workplace.


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