US senators call on Boeing to negotiate with North Charleston union workers

Approximately two dozen US senators are asking on Boeing Co. to begin negotiations with a labor union representing employees at the Boeing North Charleston campus, the company said.

Flight-line workers at the Boeing South Carolina 787 Dreamliner campus this year voted in favor of having the International Association of Machinists represent them in collective bargaining. It was considered a small but symbolic victory for organized labor in the South.

Flight-line workers at the 787 Dreamliner assembly plant voted 104-65 in May to join the International Association of Machinists. Boeing is contesting the election and has refused to negotiate with the IAM until the National Labor Relations Board rules on its appeal.

All of the senators who signed the letter are Democrats, including some of the party´s biggest names, such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. South Carolina´s senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, both Republicans, did not sign the letter.

Boeing has said the work that flight line employees do is so intertwined with the rest of the facility that the small group can´t be parsed out for collective bargaining. A regional director with the NLRB disagreed in May, setting up the vote.

Boeing is one of the Charleston region´s largest employers, with about 6,800 workers at the Dreamliner campus and other sites in North Charleston.