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Entries in NLRB (177)

Tuesday
May172011

NRN - Must Reads from May 16, 2011

Monday
May162011

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.
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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.

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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.



Saturday
May142011

WFI - NLRB in the news 

Boeing Lawyers Tells Senate Committee NLRB Suit Could Cost Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

The Washington Examiner
Philip Klein
5/12/11

If it succeeds, a suit by the National Labor Relations Board seeking to block Boeing from building airplanes in a non-union facility in South Carolina will set a precedent that could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide, the company's vice president and general counsel Michael Lutting said at a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Most directly, if Boeing is forced to shut down its new factory, it would kill thousands of jobs in South Carolina. But it would also have wider-ranging effects, Luttig argued in testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Applied across the economy, Luttig said, it means that many companies that have production lines in unionized states won't be able to build additional facilities in right-to-work states. And on the flip side, companies won't want to open new factories in unionized states, because they'll be worried that they'll be limited in where they can expand in the future. Still other companies, Luttig said, would locate overseas.

The NLRB complaint calls for moving the new production line to the unionized Washington state, which Luttig described as a “breathtaking substitution of the board for management in the running of American company.”

He also dismissed the NLRB's charge that the factory was built to retaliate against the union.

“No company commits billions of dollars of capital to build a production facility out of spite,” Luttig said.

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GOP Bill Seeks to Undercut Labor Agency in Boeing Case
McClatchy
James Rosen
5/12/11

Thirty-four Republican senators introduced legislation Thursday to protect states' "right-to-work" status and to ban the chief federal labor agency from determining where companies can do business.

The measure is the GOP response to a bid by the top lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board to prevent Boeing from opening a South Carolina plant this summer to make its next-generation 787 Dreamliner planes.

Lafe Solomon, the NLRB's acting general counsel, charges that Boeing violated federal labor laws that protect workers' collective-bargaining rights by deciding to build the factory in North Charleston instead of at the aerospace giant's hub in Everett, Wash.

Solomon claims that Boeing executives chose South Carolina, a right-to-work state, to retaliate against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for having led four strikes at its Puget Sound facilities since 1977.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican who crafted the measure, said the Boeing case had broad implications.

"This is not just about South Carolina, and it's not just about making airplanes," Alexander said. "This is about jobs in every state in the country, and whether or not manufacturers are going to be able to make in the United States what they sell in the United States."

Obama aides declined to comment on the legislation. NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said the Boeing case didn't threaten the 22 states that had implemented laws banning union membership as a condition of employment.

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Boeing and the Union Berlin Wall
Wall Street Journal
Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore
5/13/10

The Obama administration's National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint last month against Boeing to block production of the company's 787 Dreamliner at a new assembly plant in South Carolina—a "right to-work" state with a law against compulsory union membership. If the NLRB has its way, Dreamliner assembly will return to Washington, a union-shop state, along with more than 1,000 jobs.
 
The NLRB's action, which Boeing will challenge at a hearing next month, is a big deal. It's the first time a federal agency has intervened to tell an American company where it can and cannot operate a plant within the U.S. It lays the foundation of a regulatory wall with one express purpose: to prevent the direct competition of right-to-work states with union-shop states. Why, as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley recently asked on these pages, should Washington have any more right to these jobs than South Carolina?
 
A recent New York Times editorial justified the NLRB decision by arguing that unions are suffering from "the flight of companies to 'Right-to-Work' states where workers cannot be required to join a union." That's for sure, and quite an admission. We've been observing that migration pattern for years, but liberals have denied it's actually happening—until now.
 
Every year we rank the states on their economic competitiveness in a report called "Rich States, Poor States" for the American Legislative Exchange Council. This ranking uses 15 fiscal, tax and regulatory variables to determine which states have policies that are most conducive to prosperity. Two of these 15 policies have consistently stood out as the most important in predicting where jobs will be created and incomes will rise. First, states with no income tax generally outperform high income tax states. Second, states that have right-to-work laws grow faster than states with forced unionism.
 
As of today there are 22 right-to-work states and 28 union-shop states. Over the past decade (2000-09) the right-to-work states grew faster in nearly every respect than their union-shop counterparts: 54.6% versus 41.1% in gross state product, 53.3% versus 40.6% in personal income, 11.9% versus 6.1% in population, and 4.1% versus -0.6% in payrolls.
 
For years, unions argued that right-to-work laws were bad for workers and for the states that passed them. But with the NLRB complaint, they've essentially thrown in the towel. If forced unionism is better for the economy of a state, why would the NLRB need to intervene to keep Boeing from leaving Washington? Why aren't businesses and workers moving operations to heavily unionized places likeMichiganNew YorkOhio and Pennsylvania and fleeing states like GeorgiaTennesseeSouth Carolina and Texas?
 
In reality, the stampede of businesses from forced-union states like Washington has accelerated in recent years. A 2010 study in the Cato Journal by economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University found that between 2000 and 2008 4.8 million Americans moved from forced-union states to right-to-work states. That's one person every minute of every day.
 
Right-to-work states are also getting richer over time. Prof. Vedder found a 23% higher per capita income growth rate in right-to-work states than in forced-union states, which over the period 1977-2007 amounted to a $2,760 larger increase in per-person income in those states. That's a giant differential.
 
So now the unions concede that this migration is indeed happening, but they say that it is unhealthy and undesirable because workers in right-to-work states are paid less and get worse benefits than the workers in union states. Actually, when adjusting for the cost of living in each state and the fact that right-to-work states were poorer to begin with, a 2003 study in the Journal of Labor Research byUniversity of Oklahoma economist Robert Reed found that wages rose faster in states that don't require union membership.
 
Employers that move away from forced-union states mainly do so not to scale back wages and salaries—although sometimes that happens—but to avoid having to deal with intrusive union rules, the threat of costly work stoppages, lawsuits, worker paychecks going to union fat cats, and so on.
 
Boeing officials have admitted that their decision to build the new Dreamliner plant in South Carolina was due in part to the fact that the company could not "afford a work stoppage every three years" as had happened in Washington state over that past decade. (By the way, this is the comment the NLRB complaint cites as proof of "retaliation" against union workers.)
 
Boeing is merely making a business decision based on economic reality. In fact, the company chose South Carolina for the new plant even though Washington has no income tax and South Carolina does. The two of us are often accused of arguing that income tax rates are the only factors that influence where businesses and capital relocate. Taxes certainly matter. But Boeing's move shows that taxes are not always the definitive factor in plant location decisions. In the case of Washington the advantage of its no income tax status is outweighed by its forced-union status. Lucky are the six states—Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, Nevada, Florida and Wyoming—that are both right-to-work states and have no income tax.
 
While there are only six right-to-work states that also have a zero earned income tax rate and three zero earned income tax rate states that have forced- union shops, their performance differences over the past decade (2000-09) are revealing. Of the nine zero income tax rate states, those six that are also right-to-work have grown a lot faster than the three with forced-union shops: 64.9% versus 53.8% in gross state product, 59.0% versus 46.8% in personal income, 15.5% versus 10.3% in population and 8.2% versus 6.9% in payrolls.
 
The Boeing incident makes it clear that right-to-work states have a competitive advantage over forced-union states. So the question arises: Why doesn't every state adopt right-to-work laws? Four or five are trying to do so this year, and have faced ferocious opposition from the union movement.
 
But that shouldn't stop state legislators in forced-union states from doing what's in their workers' best interests. They need to decide whether they want to continue to see jobs and tax receipts exit their states, or whether they want to adopt laws that afford their workers the right to join a union or not. The only alternative is to build a regulatory Berlin Wall around their borders to keep their businesses from leaving.
 
Mr. Laffer is the chairman of Laffer Associates. Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for the Journal's editorial page. They are co-authors of "Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status" (Threshold, 2010).

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Boeing Expects US Labor Complaint to End in Court
Reuters
John Crawley and Kyle Peterson
5/12/11

Boeing Co (BA.N) expects a court to settle a complaint alleging it punished union workers for a past strike by choosing a state with laws unfriendly to organized labor to build its 787 Dreamliner.
 

J Michael Luttig, the company's general counsel and a former appeals judge, told a Senate committee on Thursday he anticipates losing before an administrative law judge in Seattle in June and at the National Labor Relations Board after that, but prevailing at the U.S. Court of Appeals.

 

"That our rights will be vindicated one way or another before a federal court is correct," Luttig told Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee at a hearing on middle class economic issues that was dominated by the NLRB complaint against Boeing.

 

Luttig said the April complaint was without merit, a view supported by Republicans on the Senate panel who said the case was an unprecedented attack on U.S. corporations.

 

Luttig said Boeing was not asking for congressional relief. But Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander said he would propose legislation prohibiting the NLRB from taking similar action against other companies.

 

Alexander said the bill would protect so-called "right-to-work" laws, found mainly in southern and western states, that make union membership a condition of employment.

 

Overseas automakers have flocked to southern states with nonunion facilities in contrast with their U.S. rivals whose factory workers are members of the United Auto Workers.

 

The NLRB complaint, in response to machinists union allegations and challenging Boeing's decision to build a 787 plant in South Carolina rather than union-heavy Washington state, could take two or more years to move through the courts, Luttig said.

 

Boeing said it selected Charleston in 2009 after failed talks with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) to continue building the Dreamliner in the Puget Sound region where it assembles the 787 and other commercial airliners.

 

The NLRB complaint alleged Boeing engaged in unfair labor practices by moving the follow-on 787 work to discourage union strikes, a protected activity.

 

The NLRB wants an order requiring Boeing to operate the second 787 line in Washington state.

 

The IAM said on Thursday Luttig's statements were not "relevant or appropriate."

 

Boeing's Dreamliner, its signature new aircraft, is about three years behind schedule because of supply chain problems. But Boeing also blames part of the delay on the 2008 strike.

The NLRB complaint "has nothing to do with right-to-work (state) laws, which are expressly permitted under our statute," Cleeland said. "Rather, it concerns a particular line of assembly work that was allegedly moved for discriminatory reasons. The effect would have been the same if the line had been moved to a nonunion facility in any state."

Boeing isn't moving its Dreamliner factory. The Chicago-based firm plans to open a second production plant near Charleston International Airport, where it intends to build three of the 787 commercial jets per month.

An administrative law judge in Seattle is scheduled to hear the case June 14. He'll decide whether to dismiss the complaint or refer it to the five-member NLRB.

The labor agency has three Obama appointees — including two former union lawyers — along with one named by Republican President George W. Bush and a vacancy.

Obama last year made recess appointments of the two former general counsels for large unions — Mark G. Pearce and Craig Becker — after Senate Republicans blocked their confirmation.

Solomon himself is serving in an acting capacity as the NLRB's top lawyer because GOP opposition would make it hard to gain the 60 votes required for his Senate confirmation.

The new Senate measure would say that the NLRB can't order a company where to operate and would guarantee an employer's right to decide where to do business. It has a free-speech clause protecting executives' ability to cite their fear of labor stoppages free of government punishment.

Almost all of the bill's 34 sponsors represent right-to-work states. The Republicans' show of force in lining up more than three-quarters of their 43 senators behind the measure signals party leaders' desire to elevate the Boeing case into an election issue next year.

Even if all 43 GOP senators vote for the legislation, it would face an uphill climb toward the 60 votes needed to overcome Democrats' procedural obstacles.

The measure's sponsors said they'd target 11 Democratic senators from right-to-work states, starting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Reid, though, was defiant in defending the NLRB and criticizing the Republican senators who are siding with Boeing.

"Republicans are threatened by unions," Reid said. "Because Republicans and the big businesses they defend so often try to take away workers' rights, workers don't often vote Republican."

Reid accused the GOP senators of political interference in a quasi-judicial proceeding.

"This kind of interference is inappropriate," he said. "It is disgraceful and dangerous. We need agencies like the NLRB to be able to operate freely and without political pressures."



Saturday
May142011

CEI Daily - NLRB Overreach, Public Transit, and the Regulation of the Day

 

NLRB Overreach

 

Yesterday, three senators introduced the Jobs Protection Act, which would prevent controversial NLRB overreaches like the recent Boeing scandal.

 

Policy Analyst Ivan Osorio comments on the bill.

 

"It should be outrageous that such a bill would be needed, yet it is, as the NLRB carrying water for Big Labor appears to be part of a pattern. The Board has also threatened to sue four states over amendments to their constitutions guaranteeing secret ballots in union organizing elections.[...] [The Boeing incident] is the latest episode in the Obama administration’s pattern of politicizing the NLRB to act as an agent for organized labor, rather than an independent arbiter. Congress may still need to do more to rein in this rogue agency."

 

 

Public Transit

 

A new report from the Brookings Institution analyzes U.S. transit systems in different cities. 

 

Policy Analyst Marc Scribner responds to the report.

 

   "Important takeaway: as metropolitan areas continue to suburbanize (including lower-income residents who previously resided in inner cities), the spoke-and-hub model of transit, which relies on monocentric urban land-use patterns, will become less useful for those who can least afford private auto trips. The high-skilled, high-income workers of central cities benefit the most from the status quo, while the increasingly lower- to middle-income suburban residents — who are more and more often finding work in the suburbs, as well — have less access to efficient transit. [...]

    I don’t believe the Brookings authors go far enough in their conclusions or articulate the inconvenient truth that many Americans have rejected transit outright, but it is definitely worth reading."

 

 

 

Regulation of the Day

 

In the latest "Regulation of the Day," Fellow in Regulatory Studies Ryan Young talks about efforts in Texas to criminalize lying about the weight of a fish you've caught.

 

Read the "Regulation of the Day" here.

 



Friday
May132011

Dem Gov. Beebe: NLRB ruling could be 'detrimental'  

Beebe: NLRB ruling could be 'detrimental'
The City Wire
5/11/2011

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said Wednesday (May 11) that a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling against Boeing could be “detrimental” to Arkansas’ economic development efforts.

In 2008 and 2009, Boeing searched for potential new manufacturing locations at which to build the company’s new 787 Dreamliner. The new plane uses advanced composite materials and new engines to build a large commercial plane significantly more fuel efficient than other planes in the industry.

But union leaders objected when Boeing decided to build a $1 billion plant — the first large airplane manufacturing plant built at a new location in about 40 years — near Charleston, S.C.

UNION OBJECTION
Officials with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 751 filed in March 2010 a complaint with the NLRB. They alleged that Boeing made the decision to locate in South Carolina because, as a right-to-work state, it is difficult for workers to unionize. Further, they alleged that the move was a signal by Boeing to its union workforce in Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., that union strikes and other disruptions could push more production to other right-to-work states.

On April 20, NLRB Regional Director Richard Ahearn agreed with the union allegations, saying the Boeing decision to locate a plant in South Carolina was made to “discourage” union workers from engaging in protected union activities. Evidence cited in the NLRB ruling included several news reports in which Boeing officials said part of the decision was based on fear of future union strikes disrupting Dreamliner production.

“As part of the remedy for the unfair labor practices alleged above in paragraphs 7 and 8, the Acting General Counsel seeks an Order requiring Respondent to have the Unit operate its second line of 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly production in the State of Washington, utilizing supply lines maintained by the Unit in the Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, area facilities,” Ahearn wrote in the ruling.

A hearing on the ruling is set for June 14 in Seattle.

ARKANSAS IMPACT?
Arkansas, also a right-to-work state, was active in attempting to recruit Boeing’s Dreamliner plant. State and chamber officials in Arkansas often use the right-to-work issue as a selling point.

“It could be detrimental to Arkansas’ economic development efforts if that is carried to some extreme conclusion,” Beebe said Wednesday in a “Talk Politics” interview with Roby Brock. (Link here for more on the interview.)

Beebe said he is not fully versed on the “legal background” cited by NLRB in the ruling, but said it “undoubtedly is raising questions about a company’s ability to move plants to different parts of the company for competitive reasons.”

“It bears watching by Arkansas because it could have an effect on Arkansas,” he added.

Cheryl Garner, vice president of economic development with the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the ruling could take away one of the state’s selling points when recruiting manufacturers and other large employers.

“We would be losing one of the many advantages that this area has, but it is not a deal killer,” Garner said. “We do market ourselves as a right-to-work state and it is an advantage, certainly. ... But I think there are many factors that go into moving a location, in addition to that.”

NATIONAL OPPOSITION
The NLRB ruling is opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, the HR Policy Association and other national business groups.

“It is disturbing that at a time when companies doing business in the U.S. are engaged in intensive competition on a global scale, a company would be sanctioned for engaging in open and honest discussions with its union about economic realities,” Dan Yager, chief policy officer & general counsel for the HR Policy Association, said in a statement released by the U.S. Chamber. “If anything, the NLRB should seek to ensure that employers and unions are able to speak freely with each other, consistent with their rights under Section 8(c) of the National Labor Relations Act. Any failure by the Board to protect those rights can only further harm the larger economic interests of all Americans.”

Jim McNerney, chairman, president and CEO of Boeing, wrote in a May 11 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, that the NLRB ruling fails to recognize that the company’s union contracts allow Boeing to “locate new work at our discretion.” He also noted that no union jobs have been lost in existing plants as a result of the South Carolina expansion.


“In fact, we've since added more than 2,000 union jobs there (Everett, Wash.), and the hiring continues,” McNerney noted.

The Boeing chief also said the NLRB action could backfire on unions if business owners decide to not locate plants in pro-union states for fear of not then being allowed to expand to right-to-work states.

“U.S. tax and regulatory policies already make it more attractive for many companies to build new manufacturing capacity overseas. That's something the administration has said it wants to change and is taking steps to address. It appears that message hasn't made it to the front offices of the NLRB,” McNerney concluded.

LABOR FOCUS
Beebe, in the “Talk Politics” interview, also said assumptions about unions can “go both ways.”

He said when Cooper Tire announced it would close two of its four manufacturing plants, the initial fear in Arkansas was the unionized Cooper Tire plant in Texarkana would be lost. At the time, two of the Cooper Tire plants were unionized. But Beebe reminded that the Texarkana plant remained open because of the union’s willingness to work with management. And, according to Beebe, “the trump card” was the quality of the workforce and quality of production at Texarkana.

“It doesn’t always follow that if you’re non-union you are going to get the business,” Beebe said.

But Garner said global competition to locate operations has created more focus on labor costs — a trend she predicts will continue.

“As the competition gets tighter and tighter globally, companies will continue to look for that low-cost labor. That’s a trend that will not go away,” she said.

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Palin, Gingrich, Reid weigh in on Boeing labor complaint
The Herald
Michelle Dunlop
5/11/2011
The political heavyweights are adding their two cents to the National Labor Relations Board's complaint against the Boeing Co.

President Barack Obama's appointees on the labor board “have their boots on The Boeing Co.'s neck,” writes Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor, in this piece for Fox News.

The labor board has alleged that Boeing picked South Carolina as the site for its second 787 line in order to get back at its Machinists in Washington state for past strikes. The labor board's general counsel has said Boeing's move is illegal and wants the company to put a second line in Washington instead. A hearing on the complaint is set for June 14 in Seattle.

Palin isn't the only Republican lashing out at Obama and the labor board. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich calls the complaint a “job killing effort” in this piece.

“It is clear that President Obama is packing the NLRB board with left wing ideologues as a payoff to his union boss allies, so that the fix is in with regard to this case and others like it,” Gingrich writes.

For the Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is standing up for the labor board and its complaint:
“Let's be honest: Republicans are threatened by unions,” Reid said. “They're threatened because when a large, organized group is so concerned with workers' rights, the members of that group vote in large numbers. And because Republicans and the big businesses they defend so often try to take away workers' rights, workers don't often vote Republican.”