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Boeing Workers To Vote On Whether To Unionize Days Before Reported Trump Visit

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Roughly 3,000 workers at Boeing’s manufacturing plant in North Charleston, S.C., will vote Wednesday on whether or not to join the International Association of Machinists (IAM), just two days before President Donald Trump will reportedly visit the facility.

Wednesday’s vote comes two years after a planned vote on unionization, which was called off by the union just days beforehand. Officials from the National Labor Relations Board will conduct an election Wednesday while Boeing and IAM representatives observe.

South Carolina has the lowest rate of unionization, with 1.6 percent of workers belonging to a union. North Carolina is the second lowest state, with a rate of 3.0 percent. (RELATED: Union Membership Continues To Decline)

Trump is expected to visit Friday in order to congratulate his pick to serve as U.N. ambassador, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and to visit the Boeing plant in North Charleston. The Boeing unionization vote is viewed by many as the largest test for organized labor in South Carolina in decades.

The Dreamliner has turned into a profitable venture for the company, after a decade of losses. Air carriers around the world are placing orders with Boeing for the wide-bodied 787. Singapore Air Lines recently purchased 39 additional planes, a contract worth $13.8 billion.

During the campaign, Trump blasted Boeing for plans to build a factory in China. While the plant was intended to paint planes that were bound for Southeast Asia, Trump mentioned the company numerous times, asserting the plant would cost American jobs.

The world’s largest airplane manufacturer is careful to keep a healthy relationship with Southeast Asia because of region’s expanding markets and increasing demands for wide-bodied long haul planes.

“Notice: Expect VIP movement February 17, 2017 in the vicinity of Charleston, SC,” said a Federal Aviation Administration advisory released Sunday.

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