UPDATE 1-U.S. machinist members file unfair labor charges against Boeing

Thu Jan 9, 2014 11:25pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 9 (Reuters) - Members of the Seattle-area machinists union have filed unfair labor practice charges against Boeing Co BA.N, alleging the company interfered with their rights to vote freely on a contract offer by threatening to move their jobs out of state unless they approved the agreement, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said on Thursday.

Members have filed at least 20 unfair labor practice charges in recent days, including at least two against Boeing, and the rest against the labor union's international leadership, NLRB attorney Anne Pomerantz said in an interview.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said in an email that the company has not received copies of the charges, adding: "Boeing followed all labor laws during negotiations and fully respected the rights of our employees."

The international leadership of the union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, has drawn unfair labor practice charges for holding the vote against the objections of local machinists union leaders and when many members were away on vacation, the charges allege.

Most of the charges have been filed since the Jan. 3 vote that approved a contract extension through 2024. In exchange for ratification, Boeing agreed not to build its latest jetliner, the 777X, in another state, which would have meant the loss of jobs for machinists who build the planes in the Seattle area.

The NLRB said it is investigating the charges against Boeing and the international union leadership and expected that process to last about three months. Afterwards, the agency would determine whether the charges merited moving forward with a formal complaint that could lead to a trial.

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