Boeing vote tells next chapter in Southern unionization

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ Nearly 3,000 production workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant are deciding if they want to unionize, writing the next chapter in efforts to organize labor in large manufacturing plants across the South.

If successful, Wednesday’s balloting on whether employees should join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers would send a significant message to politicians both in the region and Washington that workers here are demanding the same protections and benefits as their colleagues in other areas.

And, to the leaders trying to recruit businesses by promoting their states’ lack of union presence, it’d make their jobs more difficult.

Labor experts say a “yes” vote would have repercussions throughout the South, potentially inspiring other workers to think about unionizing.