WFI - NLRB over the weekend

The Dreamliner Nightmare 
George Will
May 14, 2011
The Washington Post
This summer, the huge Boeing assembly plant here will begin producing 787 Dreamliners — up to three a month, priced at $185million apiece. It will, unless the National Labor Relations Board, controlled by Democrats and encouraged by Barack Obama’s reverberating silence, gets its way.
Last month — 17 months after Boeing announced plans to build here and with the $2billion plant nearing completion — the NLRB, collaborating with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), charged that Boeing’s decision violated the rights of its unionized workers in Washington state, where some Dreamliners are assembled and still will be even after the plant here is operational. The NLRB has read a 76-year-old statute (the 1935 Wagner Act) perversely, disregarded almost half a century of NLRB and Supreme Court rulings, and patently misrepresented statements by Boeing officials.
South Carolina is one of 22 — so far — right-to-work states, where workers cannot be compelled to join a union. When in September 2009, Boeing’s South Carolina workers — fuselage sections of 787s already are built here — voted to end their representation by IAM, the union did not accuse Boeing of pre-vote misbehavior. Now, however, the NLRB seeks to establish the principle that moving businesses to such states from non-right-to-work states constitutes prima facie evidence of “unfair labor practices,” including intimidation and coercion of labor. This principle would be a powerful incentive for new companies to locate only in right-to-work states.
The NLRB complaint fictitiously says Boeing has decided to “remove” or “transfer” work from Washington. Actually, Boeing has so far added more than 2,000 workers in Washington, where planned production — seven 787s a month, full capacity for that facility — will not be reduced. Besides, how can locating a new plant here violate the rights of IAM members whose collective bargaining agreement with Boeing gives the company the right to locate new production facilities where it deems best?
The NLRB says that Boeing has come here “because” IAM strikes have disrupted production and “to discourage” future strikes.
Since 1995, IAM has stopped Boeing’s production in three of five labor negotiations, including a 58-day walkout in 2008 that cost the company $1.8 billion and a diminished reputation with customers.
The NLRB uses meretricious editing of Boeing officials’ remarks to falsely suggest that anti-union animus motivated the company to locate some production in a right-to-work state. Anyway, it is settled law that companies can consider past strikes when making business decisions to diminish the risk of future disruptions.
The economy is mired in a sluggish recovery. But the destructive — and self-destructive — Obama administration is trying to debilitate the world’s largest aerospace corporation and the nation’s leading exporter, which has 155,000 U.S. employees and whose 738 million shares are held by individual and institutional investors, mutual funds and retirement accounts. Why? Organized labor, primarily and increasingly confined to government workers, cannot convince private-sector workers that it adds more value to their lives than it subtracts with dues and work rules that damage productivity. Hence unions’ reliance on government coercion where persuasion has failed.
The NLRB’s complaint is not a conscientious administration of the law; it is intimidation of business leaders who contemplate locating operations in right-to-work states. Labor loathes Section 14(b) of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which allows states to pass right-to-work laws that forbid compulsory unionization. But 11 Democratic senators represent 10 of the right-to-work states: Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Bill Nelson (Florida), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Harry Reid (Nevada), Kay Hagan (North Carolina), Kent Conrad (North Dakota), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), and Jim Webb and Mark Warner (Virginia). Do they support the Obama administration’s attempt to cripple their states’ economic attractiveness?
The NLRB’s attack on Boeing illustrates the Obama administration’s penchant for lawlessness displayed when, disregarding bankruptcy law, it traduced the rights of Chrysler’s secured creditors. Now the NLRB is suingArizona and South Dakota because they recently, and by large majorities, passed constitutional amendments guaranteeing the right to secret ballots in unionization elections — ballots that complicate coercion by union organizers.
Just as uncompetitive companies try to become wards of the government (beneficiaries of subsidies, tariffs, import quotas), unions unable to compete for workers’ allegiance solicit government compulsion to fill their ranks. The NLRB’s reckless attempt to break a great corporation, and by extension all businesses, to government’s saddle — never mind the collateral damage to the economy — is emblematic of the Obama administration’s willingness to sacrifice the economy on the altar of politics.

Gingrich: Defund NLRB for Boeing Challenge
May 13, 2011
The Associated Press

Former U.S. House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is calling on Congress to defund the National Labor Relations Board if it continues to pursue a complaint against Boeing Co.

Gingrich's remarks at a conference Friday in Washington came a day after he formally entered the 2012 GOP presidential race.

The complaint says Boeing illegally retaliated for a 2008 strike by adding a non-union assembly line in South Carolina for 787 passenger jets. Most of that work is now done in Washington state by union workers.

A week ago, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said candidates will have to take a stand on the NLRB's complaint.

Gingrich said bureaucrats are destroying jobs on behalf of an ideology and interest group.


Republicans Take on NLRB
WSJ - Washington Wire
Melanie Trottman
May 13, 2011

Congressional Republicans are demanding  the National Labor Relations Board produce a raft of documents concerning the board’s complaint against Boeing Co. and other decisions the lawmakers say overstep the board’s authority.

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), along with several Republicans on the committee, wrote to NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon to demand documents linked to the Boeing complaint and union election laws in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

The NLRB’s Boeing complaint seeks to force the company to move its newly built production line in South Carolina to Washington state, a remedy pushed by union members who alleged Boeing built the nonunion plant in South Carolina in retaliation for their past strikes.

An NLRB suit against Arizona challenges the legality of a state constitutional amendment that requires secret-ballot elections before a company can be unionized, and claims the state can’t override a federal law that gives workers the option of the so-called card-check method of organizing, which unions prefer because of its ease. The NLRB has said it plans to file a similar suit against South Dakota, and has investigated union election laws elsewhere.

“In the current climate, every regulatory action is a potential parking brake on job creation and economic growth,” Mr. Issa said in the letter to the NLRB. He and his colleagues requested a long list of information by May 27, including call logs and emails between the general counsel, the NLRB, Boeing and the Machinists union as well as documents gathered in the probe of state union election laws.

Other requests for information are also pending.

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R., Minn) and Mr. Issa, wrote to NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman earlier request documents in an NLRB case known as Specialty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Mobile and the United Steelworkers. The issue is whether a group limited to certified nursing assistants is an appropriate bargaining unit at the center.

Business groups and Republicans are concerned the board will rule for the union, and then apply the so-called mini-bargaining unit concept to other industries, making it easier for unions to organize.

On Friday, Republican members of the Education and the Workforce Committee wrote a letter to Mr. Solomon, saying: “Taken together, your actions threaten future economic growth and job creation and reflect an unsavory culture of union favoritism. We demand you cease your bureaucratic activism immediately and restore objectivity that is essential to the effectiveness and credibility of the General Counsel’s office.”

Democrats are fighting back. Rep. George Miller (D., Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and Workforce, Friday asked Mr. Kline to suspend his document request.

“The Board should be subjected to proper oversight.  But the Committee must be careful not to misuse its oversight authority to influence, or risk the appearance of improperly influencing, the outcome of pending cases,” Mr. Miller wrote to Mr. Kline.