Another union targets Boeing South Carolina workers

AP/Bruce Smith In this April 27, 2012 photo, workers at Boeing's assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C. assemble a 787 jetliner. On Tuesday, representatives of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA, will hold an open house in North Charleston.

Union fervor surrounding Boeing is picking up in North Charleston.

On Tuesday, representatives of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, or SPEEA, will hold an open house 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 5055 International Blvd. in North Charleston.

The meeting is meant to recruit members and educate six members who live in the Charleston area about their payouts as part of Boeing's $47 million arbitration award to 484 employees who worked in California, according to union spokesman Bill Dugovich.

The awards range from a few dollars to more than $400,000 and are designed to "make whole" the employees for the pay and benefits they should have received under SPEEA contracts. The settlement came after 14 years.

Representing engineers, technical workers and pilots, the union also is holding the event for local aerospace professionals to meet and learn about union representation.

Not far away, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Works, or IAM, recently opened a union hall on Dorchester Road and is trying to get enough interest to organize the local Boeing 787 Dreamliner factory near Charleston International Airport.

The IAM was once in the local plant, but voted to disband shortly after Boeing bought the facility in 2009. The union has been trying to get a foothold in the non-unionized factory ever since.

A local Boeing spokeswoman has consistently asserted that unions are not in the best interest of its employees, the community or the state. Gov. Nikki Haley is adamantly opposed to unions in South Carolina.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or

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