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Friday
Dec092011

NLRB Dismisses South Carolina Labor Suit Against Boeing

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The National Labor Relations Board announced Friday that it has dismissed its high-profile labor complaint against Boeing, Inc., after the complainant in the case, the Machinists Union, ratified a massive contract with the airplane manufacturing giant Thursday night.

The labor complaint has been the subject of national outrage and has served as a litmus test of sorts for the GOP presidential candidates, who have used the labor board as an example of what they call President Obama’s “job-killing” policies.

The complaint charged that Boeing participated in unfair labor practices after it moved part of the production of its 787 Dreamliner airplane from Washington to South Carolina, a state where laws are less friendly to unions. About 1,000 jobs were created in South Carolina at the new Boeing plant.

“This is the outcome we have always preferred, and one that is typical for our agency,” NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon said in a statement announcing the withdrawn charges. “I am pleased that the collective bargaining process has succeeded and that the parties have begun a promising new chapter in their relationship.”

The Machinist Union announced a tentative contract with Boeing last week that guarantees production of Boeing’s newest airplane, the 737 MAX, will be built by union members in Washington. That contract was ratified Thursday with 74 percent of union workers supporting it.

“When we announced the tentative contract agreement we said if our members ratified it that we considered it to have resolved our issues with Boeing,” the union’s spokeswoman Connie Kelliher said.

Kelliher said this is the first time production of an entire line of planes has been guaranteed in the union contract.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who has been investigating the NLRB case against Boeing, praised the board’s decision to drop the charges, but said his investigation into the board would continue.

The Oversight Committee’s Ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said in a statement that he hopes his committee will drop their investigation now that the case has concluded.

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