(UPI) — Boeing Co. workers at its North Charleston, S.C., plant overwhelmingly voted against union representation, the company announced.
In a vote Wednesday of about 3,000 union-eligible employees, 74 percent of voters chose to reject organization by the international Association of machinists and Aerospace Workers, Boeing said.
The plant is one of two manufacturing the Boeing 787 Dreamliner; the other is in Washington State. Boeing chose to build the facility in South Carolina to reduce the leverage of the union, which has used work stoppages in Washington in the past to gain concessions, The New York Times said Thursday. It noted the vote was also widely viewed as an early test of union power in the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump.
South Carolina is among the least unionized states, with 1.6 percent of workers in a union.
Wednesday’s vote is the latest in high-profile losses for the union movement in the South; workers at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant voted against a union in 2014, and in 2011 a nearly seven-year organizing effort at an R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. facility failed with a vote to reject a union.
The unionization effort at the Boeing plant centered on fairer evaluations of employees, leading to pay raises, as well as higher wages. Boeing production employees currently earn about $23 per hour at the South Carolina facility, compared to about $31 per hour at the Washington plant.
The South Carolina plant manufactures the new Boeing model 787-10. The first plane in the series will debut on Friday. President Trump is scheduled to attend the ceremony.