Sending Mixed Messages, Obama’s NLRB Drops Wrongful Prosecution of Boeing

Following the ratification of a new Seattle-area contract between Boeing and its largest union, the International Association of Machinists, eight months of the union extremists running Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board wrongfully prosecuting Boeing offcially and quietly comes to an end.

[via New York Times]

A top official with the National Labor Relations Board announced on Friday that the agency was dropping its politically charged case against Boeing, in which the agency had accused the company of violating federal labor law by opening a new aircraft production plant in South Carolina.

The N.L.R.B.’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the labor board had decided to end the case after the machinists’ union — which originally asked for the case to be brought — had urged the board on Thursday to withdraw it.

According to a statement issued by the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel:

One of the stated goals of the National Labor Relations Act is to foster collective bargaining and productive labor-management relations. From the beginning of this case, and at every step in the process, we have encouraged the parties to find a mutually-acceptable resolution that protects the rights of workers under federal labor law. The parties’ collective bargaining agreement, ratified this week, does just that.

Yet, regarding the fostering of collective bargaining, in giving background to the NLRB’s charge against Boeing earlier this year, the NLRB stated:

The investigation did not find merit to the union’s charge that Boeing failed to bargain in good faith over its decision regarding the second line. Although a decision to locate unit work would typically be a mandatory subject of bargaining, in this case, the union had waived its right to bargain on the issue in its collective bargaining agreement with Boeing.

Further, notwithstanding the fact that Boeing has expanded in the Seattle area, on a conference call with reporters, the man who brought suit against Boeing, Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, stated on Friday:

“The charge was always about the loss of jobs in the Seattle area.”

“This case was never about the union or the NLRB telling Boeing where it could it put its plant,” he said. “It was about retaliation.”

Solomon is correct in one sense: The case was a case of retaliation. However, it was not Boeing retaliating against the union. Rather, it was the union retaliating against South Carolina employees for having decertified the same union in 2009.

Had the South Carolina members remained members of the Machinists’ union and not exercised their rights to kick the union out, it is likely the charge would never have been pursued by the union or the NLRB.

In fact, although an unfair labor practice was filed against the union for retaliating against South Carolina employees, the NLRB has never addressed this issue.

Instead, the NLRB spent months prosecuting of Boeing, even going so far as having potentially broken the law in doing so.

According to the Hill, Senator Jim DeMint [R-SC] remains critical of the NLRB’s actions in the Boeing matter:

“The NLRB’s dismissal of charges against Boeing only after union approval of their new contract only confirms the charges were a politically-motivated negotiation tactic, not a serious complaint based on merit,” DeMint said in a statement. “Unfortunately, real and serious damage to America’s competitiveness has already been done. A precedent has been set by the NLRB that they will attack businesses in forced-unionism states that try to create jobs in right-to-work states.”

“Those on the NLRB board who led this attack on workers’ rights should resign immediately,” DeMint concluded.

Rep. John Kline also said in a statement:

“Today’s decision confirms the NLRB’s action against Boeing was nothing more than a shameless campaign to bully an American employer. While I am pleased Boeing and the union agreed to a resolution, thousands of jobs in South Carolina and many more across the country were threatened by the NLRB’s decision to pick winners and losers in a labor dispute. The top priority of the Obama NLRB should be to protect the rights of workers, not strengthen the bargaining position of its union friends. Countless employers and workers are now wondering whether they too will fall victim to similar tactics by Big Labor and its NLRB allies.

Having been criticized for months, the NLRB’s Solomon did state he hoped the criticism would diminish. However, given the continual attacks on job creators, it’s not likely to happen. Moreover, Solomon also left the door open to a having similar type of case in the future:

Solomon said Friday he “hoped” the criticism of the labor board would recede with the withdrawal of the Boeing case, but he also said it was possible the NLRB would make the same decision in a similar circumstance.

“If we’re faced with a similar situation, we might well have a complaint,” he said.

With the NLRB losing its quorum in a few short weeks, leaving Lafe Solomon the de facto Union Czar, his statement may be more a prediction than speculation.

To read all of the LaborUnionReport.com posts on Boeing, go here.

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“Socialism has no place in the hearts of those who would secure the fight for freedom and preserve democracy.” Samuel Gompers, 1918

 

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