BY JACK JONES
Based on recent articles and letters in this publication, and union flyers finding their way into our facilities and the homes of our teammates, itís apparent that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is seeking to organize Boeing South Carolina. In the interest of ensuring that our Boeing South Carolina team and our broader community of friends have the full facts, I wanted to take this opportunity to address a couple of the issues raised by the IAMís recent communications.
To begin with a bit of recent history, the IAM is not new to South Carolina or to the aerospace industry in this state. The IAM is the same union that the employees of the former Vought Aircraft Industries voted to decertify in 2009, shortly after Boeing purchased the facility. For someone who wants to represent our teammates and friends, the IAM has taken some fairly extraordinary actions and made some fairly extraordinary statements against the interests of our site and even our individual teammates at Boeing South Carolina in the years following that decertification vote. Remember, for example, this is the same union that only two years ago tried to have the work that we proudly do here in South Carolina moved to Washington state, through a baseless lawsuit filed with the National Labor Relations Board. That lawsuit would have closed the doors on our site only weeks before those doors were to open to the world for production and delivery of the most anxiously-awaited airplane in aviation history. The IAM is also the same union that told the world that we ó you, me, our South Carolina teammates and our friends ó could never produce the revolutionary new 787 Dreamliner because, they said, we werenít good enough. Of course, working together, we proved them wrong. We built that world-class airplane manufacturing facility, and today our site employs more than 6,000 people and is producing and delivering the most innovative and sophisticated airplanes on earth.
This is the union that now says it wants to represent our employee teammates at Boeing South Carolina ó the very employees whose jobs it tried to take away on the eve of the opening of our Final Assembly doors and whose skills and abilities it has disparaged from the day the decision to locate in South Carolina was made. Something doesnít figure, does it?
At Boeing South Carolina, we began with a shared dream and a strong relationship of trust between our employee teammates, our management teammates, and our company, and every day we are partnering together to strengthen and grow that relationship. Our teammates decided at the outset that they didnít want or need the union as an intermediary between them, and they donít need a union now.
I have trouble believing that Boeing South Carolina teammates could buy what the unionís selling, and thereís no reason they should. They shouldnít buy that Boeing will renege on its promise, not just to provide hundreds and thousands of jobs for South Carolinians, but to provide hundreds and thousands of jobs with market-leading wages and benefits that are the envy of the industry and our peers. Boeing made a historic commitment to the people of South Carolina and entrusted its future to the workforce of this great state. Boeing will never renege on this promise. The IAM knows that, and we all know that.
As Boeing leaders have said repeatedly ó and I repeat today ó Boeing South Carolina is now a large and critical part of the Boeing Companyís future.
As long as Boeing South Carolina remains the competitive location to manufacture airplanes that it is today, it will continue to have more and more opportunities to expand and grow with each passing year. And with that expansion and growth comes the promise of more and even bigger opportunities for the employees of Boeing South Carolina and their families.
There is no limit to what Boeing South Carolina can become, and what we, as a company and as teammates here in South Carolina, can achieve if we work together. We have accomplished everything we have to date ó and thatís a lot ó standing together ó without anyone standing between us.
Three years ago we were told we couldnít do it, and we proved them wrong. Working together as one team, we will continue to show them just how wrong they were.
Jack Jones is vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, located in North Charleston.