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Labor warming up push to pass organizing bill

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on July 31, 2007 at 3:49 pm with No Comments »
July 31, 2007 3:49 pm

The International Association Machinists and Aerospace Workers launched its campaign for passage of new union organizing legislation today with a rally outside the Frederickson headquarters of Toray Composites America.

The union, the largest at The Boeing Co., used the rally to promote what it calls the Worker Freedom of Choice Act.

“Essentially, this piece of legislation will prohibit employers from requiring workers’ attendance at any meeting where religion, politics or union membership is the main subject,” said Larry Brown, the Machinists’ District 751 legislative director.

The new legislative proposal is an altered version of a bill unions sought last year requiring aerospace companies receiving state incentives to remain neutral in union organizing drives. That bill failed to pass.

The union targeted Toray, whose Frederickson plant provides Boeing with composite tape and fabric from which much of the 787 is built, because it contends the Japanese-owned company has used intimidation to keep the union from organizing the plant.

The company said contends its workers turned down union efforts to organize the plant because it pays market-rate wages.

Toray hired a consulting firm to advise it during the union organization drive, said Dave Manger, Toray communications manager, to advise it on how to comply with labor law. As a result of that consulting firm’s activities, the company shuffled its management structure and made changes to its shift schedule to make working at Toray more agreeable to more workers.

The Machinists have tried to organize Toray workers three times without success.

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