By Sean P. Redmond 12/14/2011
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)’s case against Boeing is finally over after its decision last Friday to drop the complaint, which proved to the world that the Board has been acting as a shill for labor unions all along. The decision followed a surprise announcement November 30 by Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) that they had reached an agreement to keep production of the 737 MAX airplane in Renton, Washington, after which the IAM promised to ask (or tell) the NLRB to drop its complaint against Boeing.
A week after the deal, union members voted 74% in favor of the new contract, which offered them their paramount objective: job security. As promised, the IAM announced that it had asked the NLRB to withdraw the suit against Boeing, and NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon complied just two days later.
"The New York Times" quoted Solomon saying, “This case was never about the union or the NLRB telling Boeing where it could put its plants…This was a question for us of retaliation, and that remains the law.” The obvious question, therefore, is, if the NLRB’s prosecution of Boeing was such a principled stand for the law, then why would Solomon withdraw the complaint considering nothing has changed concerning the South Carolina plant that sparked the charges of retaliation in the first place? Solomon’s remedy for the supposedly illegal action of opening the plant, moving those jobs to Washington state, has now been cast aside.
The answer is that Solomon and the current NLRB were and are simply doing the bidding of their labor allies. Solomon’s disingenuous assertion that the case was only about the law is refuted by the fact that he will now ignore the plant in South Carolina simply because the union told him to after it got something else it wanted.
The business community has much to fear in what Mr. Solomon and the NLRB have wrought in their complaint against Boeing. As Solomon stated, “if we were ever faced with a similar pattern, we might well issue a complaint,” thus leaving open the option for unions to run to their friends at the NLRB any time an employer decides to expand in, or move facilities to, the “wrong” location. This could give unions tremendous leverage in future contract negotiations and organizing campaigns. Solomon’s position will chill employers’ fundamental business decisions, making businesses think twice about keeping jobs in the United States, or bringing them here at all in the case of foreign companies.
When one wonders what kind of government action hinders job creation and thwarts economic growth, the NLRB and its case against Boeing stand as Exhibit A.