NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Voting is underway as thousands of workers at Boeing's South Carolina plant decide if they want to unionize.

Polling places opened early Wednesday morning throughout the aviation giant's sprawling facility in North Charleston. A second wave of voting takes place this afternoon.

Nearly 3,000 production workers are eligible to vote in the election to determine if they'll be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union initially petitioned for a vote in 2015 but called off that election because of what the union called a toxic atmosphere and political interference.

The global aviation giant came to South Carolina in part because of the state's minuscule union presence. Labor experts say a "yes" vote would have repercussions throughout the South, potentially inspiring other workers to think about unionizing.