Committee requests NLRB documents about Boeing, unions
Charleston Regional Business Journal
Matt Tomisic and Ashley Fletcher Frampton
May 26, 2011
The House Oversight Committee is requiring the National Labor Relations Board to hand over documents by Friday about its complaint against Boeing Co. and its investigation of union election laws in four states — including South Carolina.
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Reps. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., sent Lafe Solomon, acting general council of the NLRB, a letter May 12 requesting four categories of information:
- Materials relating to the investigation of Boeing, including communications from the Office of the General Counsel and the NLRB
- Documents, emails, call logs and communications among the office, the NLRB and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
- Documents, emails, call logs and communications among the office, the NLRB and Boeing
- Documents related to investigations of union election laws in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah, all of which have passed amendments requiring secret ballot votes for union elections.
On April 20, the NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing over its expansion to South Carolina, where the company is building a second final assembly and delivery facility for its 787 Dreamliner. The first line is in Everett, Wash. Boeing already operates two plants adjacent to Charleston International Airport in North Charleston to manufacture and integrate sections of the 787.
According to the complaint, the expansion illegally transferred work to nonunion facilities in North Charleston, and the NLRB is calling for Boeing to open another assembly line in Washington state. Boeing opened the North Charleston facility because of past union strikes in Washington state and to prevent future strikes, according to the complaint.
Separately, in January, Solomon advised Arizona, South Dakota, Utah and South Carolina that unless they blocked enforcement of constitutional amendments requiring secret-ballot votes for union elections, the NLRB would sue.
On May 6, the NLRB filed a lawsuit challenging the amendments in Arizona and South Dakota. South Carolina and Utah have similar amendments, but the NLRB said that, to conserve resources, it decided not to file lawsuits against those two states. Solomon notified them, however, that the labor relations board reserves the right to sue later.
Solomon said that the National Labor Relations Act gives private-sector employees two options for organizing. The first is the collection of signatures expressing support for union representation, leaving it up to the employer to recognize the union. If the employer does not recognize the union voluntarily, a secret-ballot election — the second option — must be held.
Obama versus Boeing
House GOP Takes Aim At Job-Killing Regulators
May 26, 2011
The Washington Times
House Republicans are fighting back against President Obama’s misuse of administrative power to punish right-to-work states. On Tuesday, Rep. Tim Scott introduced legislation to protect a Boeing 787 Dreamliner production plant in his South Carolina district from the outrageous complaint filed by pro-union thugs at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The agency wants to force the airline manufacturer to close up operations in Charleston and move the jobs to Puget Sound, where the labor bosses reign, because setting up in South Carolina was allegedly an example of “unfair labor practices.”
The Job Protection Act would, if enacted, clarify that federal law gives the NLRB no power to decide where any U.S. company should or should not do business. “For the NLRB to punish a company for locating in a right-to-work state is an abuse of federal executive power,” Mr. Scott explained to The Washington Times’ Emily Miller. “This administration has clearly overstepped its bounds through the inappropriate actions of an unelected regulatory board.”
Mr. Scott’s district would take a big hit if the plant, which is slated to open for production in July, were to close its doors. The facility would create at least 4,000 direct hires from Boeing and an estimated 4,000 indirect hires. Local suppliers and others firms in nearby communities would also receive a boost from the large production order. “Unemployment in South Carolina is above 9 percent,” Mr. Scott said. “This isn’t helping.” Mr. Scott called for Mr. Obama to fire the man responsible for the decision, NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, saying, “Taxpayers should not be paying a salary for someone whose actions are destroying jobs.”
House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, Minnesota Republican, has been trying to secure documents from the NLRB related to the Boeing case. So far he has received a short reply and no documents from the agency. “The NLRB is not immune from congressional oversight or public scrutiny,” Mr. Kline said in a statement. The committee is requesting information on the Boeing case because “there are legitimate questions over public statements made by NLRB officials and the timing of its complaint.” The NLRB needs to come clean on how and why it has taken action against Boeing.
The way the White House has treated this major employer is a perfect example of why unemployment stands at 9 percent. Instead of allowing the Boeing’s leadership team to make the decisions in the best interest of its employees and shareholders, unelected Beltway bureaucrats demand the right to substitute their personal judgment. It’s just a bit suspicious that the NLRB decision appeals to the liberal union demographic that is going to be playing such a key role in the 2012 elections.
If Mr. Obama wants a second term, he ought instead to focus on doing what it takes to get America working. The only way to move the needle on unemployment is to get businesses hiring again, which will happen when government gets out of the way.