Union Boasts Of Paying For Access; Demint Tells NLRB He Wants Boeing Documents
June 6, 2011
Local officials for the International Association of Aerospace Workers and Machinists (IAAWM) boasted about how political donations by the union's political action committee “gains your Union access to officials, which is critical to get our issues addressed and ensure our input is heard.”
That sounds like the union is up to its eyeballs in a "pay-to-play" lobbying game with officials in the government, so Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, put two and two together and fired off a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
DeMint asked for copies of all documents concerning cosultations, meetings, emails, and all other communications between the panel and the IAAWM that reference Boeing Aircraft Co's plan to erect a new plant in South Carolina. The new facility is to build three examples of the company's new 787 commercial jetliner each month.
Earlier this year in a decision that has sparked a nationwide uproar, the NLRB said Boeing had to cancel its plan despite the fact the new plant is almost finished, more than a thousand new workers have been hired, and the new facility would result in zero reductions in the amount of work assigned to the unionized workers in the company's existing facilities in Washington state.
Critics claim the NLRB decision is meant to send a chilling signal to other companies considering moving some or all of their employees to right-to-work states. The right-to-work states have far outpaced forced union states in recent decades in job creation and economic growth.
In his FOIA letter to the NLRB, DeMint said:
Whether the NLRB overstepped its statutory authority by targeting Boeing for locating a new manufacturing plant, in accordance with both federal law and its own private labor contracts – is to my mind a settled question," DeMint wrote.
"As a strict matter of law, the NLRB has no authority to dictate private business decisions about the location of production facilities, let alone target the citizens of America’s 22 right-to-work states with economic retribution for what the Board deems political incorrectness," he continued.
"What is less clear, unfortunately, is the process by which the NLRB came to the decision to launch this attack against Boeing, South Carolina, and the over one thousand people who have been hired to operate the North Charleston 787 plant," DeMint said.
"I write, therefore, to seek greater clarity about the decision, how it was reached, and the possible input of politically connected special interests in that process," he said.
DeMint pointed out that the IAAMW's national organization had contributed more than $1.9 million to Democratic incumbents and candidates in the 2010 campaign.
"The only way to assure the public of the purity of the NLRB’s intentions and the propriety of its actions is to publicly disclose the full record of the Board’s decision-making process leading up to last month’s complaint," DeMint said in his letter.
Officials with the NLRB have 20 days to acknowledge receipt of DeMint's letter, but federal bureacrats and Democratic appointees in departments and agencies with oversight of labor unions are not known for being particularly interested in advancing transparency and accountability in government.
You can read the full text of the DeMint FOIA letter here.