'It's because we were union members': Boeing fires workers who organized
Workers terminated by the aircraft maker in South Carolina see their dismissals as part of efforts to stifle a nascent union
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May 3, 2019 - by Michael Sainato for thegardian.com
- Boeing set up in South Carolina in 2011 rather than Washington state where the company has unionized operations. The state has the lowest level of union participation in the country
Richard Mester worked for Boeing in South Carolina as a flight safety inspector for five years before being suddenly fired – along with two other employees – in November 2018 for allegedly failing to report a bird strike. However, the bad news also came shortly after the company was told Mester had been elected a union steward.
"I have 30 years' experience as an engine guy, so I was taken back by it because I don't miss bird strikes," Mester told the Guardian.
An air force veteran, Mester had just bought a house and had two daughters in college when he was terminated. Mester and his colleagues have filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging there was no bird strike at all, but rather that this is an excuse to fire workers involved in unionization efforts.
"It was easy to see it was because we were union members," said Mester. "Boeing has no qualms about squashing any possibility of a union down here. Unfortunately we were the result of that."