Here in South Carolina, the people in charge don't want us to waste our money on unions. Boeing explained that they are just the greatest place to work, they have good jobs with good pay and are just swell bosses. In one of the ads a very nice looking older man named Scott Hibbs was playing the guitar, and then he told us what a great place Boeing is to work. And at the end of that commercial, there was the following disclaimer:
The appearance of any individual employee in this video is not intended to, and does not, indicate whether that individual employee supports or opposes union representation. Nothing in this video should suggest that any individual appearing therein holds a particular opinion either way regarding union representation.
PAID FOR BY BOEING
So, in case you didn't stop the ad so you could read the fine print, Boeing wants you to know that that nice guy Scott Hibbs wasn't saying he was for or against unions. If you didn't stop the ad, though, what you mostly saw was "VOTE NO."
I just have to ask myself why a smart employer like Boeing would decide to spend a whole lot of money just to tell its employers they shouldn't waste their money on union dues. Of course, it did that last time the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers tried to get up a vote for the union. With Nikki Haley's able pro-big-business, union-busting assistance, Boeing was able to generate enough animosity that the union had to postpone its vote.
Again, why? If Boeing is such a swell employer, why would they even care if an employee was a union member? In fact, there are some really great employers out there who are happy to have the union to mediate contracts.
It seems to me that I had heard at some point that Boeing was making employees work consecutive Saturdays. It seemed that employees with families or even those who wanted to have a weekend off just had no choice. Just like at McDonald's.
The other thing I heard is a bunch of those great jobs Haley bragged about when she gave Boeing all those tax incentives to come exploit our workers may not be as secure as we would have thought. According to the Post & Courier, Boeing will be making "job and other financial cuts." The way I think this might play out is that management might insinuate that joining a union might create an environment in which Boeing might have to let more people go. And then after the vote they will let them go anyway. Just sayin'.
In my many years, I've held a few union jobs, and a few non-union jobs. Without doubt, the best pay and the best benefits came with union membership. Which is really why Boeing is going to hard-sell their anti-union message. Don't forget, they moved to South Carolina not just because Nikki Haley gave away the store to score political points getting them here, but also because they were able to take advantage of the absence of a union and pay lower wages than at their Seattle location.
Here in Charleston, the Chamber of Commerce and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance are spreading the anti-union word that a union at Boeing would be bad for Charleston. Note that besides cheer-leading for Boeing and other big businesses and telling us that a "yes" vote could very well be bad for all of us, Chamber CEO Bryan Derreberry adds, "A 'no' vote doesn't guarantee continued growth in South Carolina."
So I would encourage anyone at Boeing who is wondering whether they should vote to unionize on February 15, don't ask the employer that holds all the cards whether they think you should have some of that control. Ask a union member.
From time to time I have union members doing some work at my home: AT&T, UPS and others. They have all been proud union members. They understand that whatever they pay in union dues, they get it back in job security, good wages, benefits, and working conditions. A union means it is not each employee standing alone against management. It means that management can't change the rules of the game without input from employees.
Boeing is spending a lot of money right now to convince its employees that they don't need to have that input. "Trust us" may not be the argument you want to bank on.