Wyatt Employment Law Report

Leave a comment

Senate Ups the Ante In “Poker Game” with NLRB Over Boeing Complaint

By George J. Miller

In further response to the decision of the Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board to issue a complaint against the Boeing Company over its decision to assemble a certain number of 787 aircraft at a non-union facility in South Carolina and not to assemble them at unionized facility in Washington because of the strike history of the union-represented machinists at that facility (see May 4th blog post below by Ed Hopson), on May 12, 2011, South Carolina Republican Senators Lindsay Graham and Jim DeMint introduced Senate Bill 964, called the “Jobs Protection Act.”  The bill is co-sponsored by 31 other Republican Senators.

As of today, the printed text of the bill has not been received by the Senate.  What is known about it is from a press release issued bySenatorLamarAlexander(R-TN), a co-sponsor, who said in part:

“Specifically, the Job Protection Act would, first, explicitly clarify that the NLRB cannot order an employer to relocate jobs from one location to another; two, guarantee an employer the right to decide where to do business within the United States; and, three, protect an employer’s free speech regarding the costs associated with having a unionized workforce without fear of such communication being used as evidence in an anti-union discrimination suit.”

Senator Graham also issued a statement, stating that the legislation is necessary because, “the NLRB is doing the bidding of the unions at a great cost toSouth Carolinaand our nation’s economy. The foundation of the NLRB complaint against Boeing would destroy the American business community’s ability to negotiate and make rational business decisions.”

Senator DeMint added that, “right-to-work states are winning the future forAmerica’s economy, yet this administration seems intent on stamping out this model of success. This is a reprehensible act and an obvious kickback to union bosses the President is depending on helping his reelection.”

Leave a comment

NLRB Takes on Boeing, Senate Republicans Take on NLRB

By Edwin S. Hopson

On April 20, 2011, in a press release, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon announced that the General Counsel had issued an unfair labor practice complaint against the Boeing Company alleging that it violated the National Labor Relations Act “by deciding to transfer a second production line to a non-union facility inSouth Carolinafor discriminatory reasons.”

 In 2007 Boeing announced that it planned to assemble seven 787 Dreamliner airplanes per month at its Puget Sound facility inWashingtonstate.  That facility has employees represented by the International Association of Machinists. Later, Boeing announced that it would create a second production line to assemble an additional three planes per month, and in October 2009, specified that the second line would be placed at its facility inSouth Carolinathat is non-union.  According to Solomon, in repeated statements to employees and the media, company executives cited the unionized employees’ past strike activity and the possibility of strikes occurring sometime in the future as the overriding factors in deciding to locate the second line in the non-union facility.  After completing its investigation,Solomon, in his press release, stated:

  “A worker’s right to strike is a fundamental right guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act,”Mr.Solomonsaid. “We also recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law. I have worked with the parties to encourage settlement in the hope of avoiding costly litigation, and my door remains open to that possibility.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

House of Representatives Votes For Major Reduction in NLRB’s Budget

By Edwin S. Hopson

According to a press release issued February 18, 2011, by National Labor Relations Board Chairman Liebman and Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, the U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on a “Continuing Resolution” to fund the federal government through September 30, 2011, that includes a provision that would eliminate $50 million or 18% of the NLRB’s budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The Board in its statement points out that since most of its budget is spent on personnel and rent, such a reduction, concentrated in the last 7 months of the fiscal year, would mean that all of its 1,665 employees would face a furlough of some 55 work days or 3 months in total between now and September 30, 2011.  It estimated that such a result could create a backlog of some 18,000 cases.

The House did finally pass its budget reduction bill (H.R. 1) early on February 19, 2011, and then adjourned for the President’s Day Holiday week.  The Senate will now take up the measure starting February 28, 2011, with a possible government shutdown looming on March 4, 2011.

The February 18 NLRB press release was removed from the NLRB’s website. The Wall Street Journal also reported on this story.  See http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/17/nlrb-defunding-fails-but-agency-remains-gop-target/