U.S. Representatives Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) today led more than 70 Members of Congress in requesting information from Boeing regarding reports of retaliation against six union organizers at the company's South Carolina facility late last year. According to the reports, it appears that Boeing may have wielded their authority as a "self-regulator" to improperly dismiss three inspection employees.
Workers at the plant voted overwhelmingly in favor of forming a union with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) on May 31, 2018. However, Boeing has refused to allow employees the opportunity to bargain for fair pay and a safer workplace.
"As policy makers, many of us have already expressed concern in a previous letter about your company's ongoing refusal to recognize the union in South Carolina, and we write now because we are disappointed to learn that Boeing discharged six union supporters shortly before the holiday season last year," wrote the Members. "We are unsatisfied with the explanations these workers were given from Boeing for their dismissal, as well as the continued refusal to bargain with the IAMAW."
"We understand that three of the terminated employees were allegedly discharged for missing a bird strike on an airplane engine in a post-flight inspection, even though the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) subsequently supported the fired inspectors' claims that there was no engine damage and no indication of a bird ingestion in the engine core consistent with a bird strike that would cause detriment to the airworthiness of the aircraft," continued the Members. "Given the ongoing concerns in Congress with Boeing's "self-regulation' with regards to safety, we are especially troubled by the impression in this case that Boeing may be wielding serious aviation security procedures as retaliatory tools against its own front-line inspection employees.
Pursuant to Congress's oversight of the FAA, the Members of Congress requested that Boeing provide the following information:
How does Boeing account for the discrepancy between its findings and those of the FAA regarding the alleged bird strike incident that led to the termination of three Boeing employees?
How did Boeing decide to terminate the three employees mentioned above and did it revisit the decision in light of the FAA's subsequent investigation?
Were the terminated employees given a chance to appeal their dismissal following the FAA investigation that found no impropriety in the inspection?
Given the important role unions play in ensuring proper workplace procedures and safety guidelines, what steps has Boeing taken to ensure timely recognition of unions that form at one of your facilities?