Entries in NLRB (5)


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and one that is typical for our agency,” NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon said in a statement announcing the withdrawn charges.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.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Boeing, Machinist Union Reach Tentative Deal to Settle NLRB Dispute

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After months of labor law wrangling and political posturing, airline manufacturer Boeing and the Machinists Union have reached a tentative deal to extend the Washington State-based airplane production workers’ contracts for four years.

If the deal is ratified by its members next week, the union said it would drop the unfair labor practice suit against Boeing that is currently pending before the National Labor Relations Board.

“We believe the proposed extension is good for our members, it’s good for Boeing, it’s good for airline customers and it’s good for communities,” said Machinist Union spokeswoman Connie Kelliher. “It secures a strong future here, provides top-notch pay and benefits and really signals the start of a potential new relationship with Boeing.”

Under the terms of the deal, union workers get job security from the contracts to build Boeing’s new 737 MAX airplane, 700 of which have already been ordered, along with the 3,000 original 737s currently on backorder.

Boeing gets the go-ahead to start production of its 787 Dreamliner at its newly-built South Carolina facility without the threat of the NLRB forcing them to close because of what it sees as unfair labor practices.

The NLRB dispute revolves around Boeing’s decision to build some of the 787 Dreamliners, which are currently being assembled in Washington where workers are unionized, at a new facility in South Carolina, a right to work state. The South Carolina plant would add 1,000 new jobs in a state where unemployment rate currently sits at 10.5 percent, 1.5 percentage points above the national average.

If the labor board ruled in favor of the Machinist Union, Boeing may have had to close the South Carolina plant and move production of the Dreamliner back to Washington.

The labor board dispute has become a litmus test of sorts for Republicans, especially those running for the party’s presidential nominee.

Every GOP presidential candidate has chastised the lawsuit -- and President Obama's apparent support of it. Mitt Romney called it a “power grab.” Herman Cain said it was, “completely unacceptable...political games.” And Newt Gingrich accused the labor board of “basically breaking the law.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Another Manufacturing Giant Goes under NLRB’s Microscope

PRNewsFoto/BMW Group(ONTARIO, Calif.) -- Another high-profile company is coming under the scrutiny of the National Labor Relations Board after a union in California filed a complaint last week against German car manufacturer BMW.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 495 union said BMW is violating labor laws by planning not to renew the contracts of 100 workers at its Ontario, Calif., distribution warehouse, and instead outsource the work to a logistics company.

The NLRB has come under fire recently for a case involving airplane manufacturer Boeing. The NLRB said Boeing “retaliated” against unionized employees at its Washington assembly plant when it moved part of the construction for its Dreamliner 787 jet to a newly built plant in South Carolina, a state without heavy union representation.

The issue has caught the attention of Republicans in Congress, who claim the NLRB has overstepped its authority and tried to dictate private business decisions -- and threatening jobs in the process.

Republicans on the House Education & the Workforce Committee passed a bill Thursday along strict party lines that would prevent the board from dictating where a private company can do business. It is not scheduled for consideration in the full House and is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has also held a hearing to assess possible changes his committee might want to make to the board, including disbanding it altogether.

The California Teamsters union complaint is in the early stages and has not incited a similar outpouring of discontent from Congress, for now. The complaint is still being reviewed by the board and a hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Kenn Sparks, a spokesman for BMW of North America, said the move is part of the company’s nationwide strategy to “focus on the core aspects of our business” and turn over all other aspects to “supporting businesses.”

Sparks said four of BMW’s six distribution warehouses are already run by logistics companies whose sole business is “the science and art of moving things.”

“There are external companies who are better at logistics than we are,” Spark said. “Many companies make this determination.”

Sparks said BMW’s actions are justified because the contract specifies that at the end of the contract, the company must negotiate only “end of contract” issues such as severance pay, which it has every intention of doing.

“The contract is expiring and we are free to decide how to go forward after that. We aren’t ending anything,” he said. “The jobs are not going away. We are not closing the warehouse. There are going to be local jobs with local people, so there is no reason for there to be any backlash.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NLRB Under Fire for Proposed Changes to Union Election Process

National Labor Relations Board(WASHINGTON) -- Members of the business community faced off against the National Labor Relations Board again Tuesday to voice their opposition to the board’s proposed election changes.

This is the second day the board has heard testimony from business groups, union advocates and researchers about the proposed changes, which would not affect cases currently before the board.

The NLRB has caught serious flack in recent months over the highly contentious Boeing case, in which the board charged that the airline manufacturing giant retaliated against unionized workers at its Washington plant by building a new manufacturing plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

The current rule-change controversy revolves around the board’s proposal to mandate a seven-day window between when an employer receives their employees’ petition to form a union and when the pre-election hearing is set.

Business groups claim that one week is not enough time to process and respond to the petition, while union advocates say the shortened window prevents employers from using long wait periods to discourage employees from voting in favor of union membership.

Maurice Baskin, who testified before the board on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors, said there is a “sense of outrage” in the business community over the proposed changes.   

“In the midst of this terrible economy the NLRB is proposing new and burdensome regulations that appear to have no purpose other than to promote union organizing,” Baskin said.

Baskin said the changes are “unlawful on their face” and “particularly offensive to small businesses” who do not have labor lawyers on staff and are often “completely at sea” when they receive a petition for union membership.

Baskin argued that seven days is not nearly enough time for employers to research their legal options, consult with a lawyer and discuss possible union membership with their employees.

“It takes months to reach the point in the federal courts that the Board now wants to reach in seven days,” Baskin said. “We submit that that’s impossible and there is no justification for that timetable.”

Elizabeth Bunn, who testified on behalf of the AFL-CIO, said employers purposefully drag out the voting process in order to scare workers away from union membership.

“Under the status quo, the employer is able to hang a sword of delay over the union,” Bunn said. “The goal is not to inform. The goal is to delay, harass, confuse and intimidate.”

She urged the board to adopt the “modest reforms” because they reduce “unproductive litigation,” allow workers and unions to communicate better, modernize the election process, create greater certainty and uniformity and allow more workers to vote in union membership elections.

Bunn said that “under the current rules, the board is hamstrung from fulfilling its mission of protecting workers who seek an election to form a union” because employers exercise too much control over the process.

The board will take online comments about the changes until Aug. 22. NLRB spokesperson Nancy Cleeland said implementing any changes would be a long process and that “the end of September would be optimistic” for any reforms to go into effect.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Breaks Silence about Boeing v. NLRB Labor Dispute

PRNewsFoto/Continental Airlines(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama broke his silence Wednesday about the dispute between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over a proposed plant in South Carolina.

The move by the NLRB to block Boeing's plan to move a plant to the Southern state has incited a wave of indignation from Republicans and the business community, who accuse the group of endangering jobs in an already weak economy.

The president on Wednesday put distance between his administration and the labor board stressing that it is “an independent agency.”

“We can't afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, at a time when we're competing against Germany and China and other countries that want to sell goods all around the world,” Obama said at a Wednesday’s White House press conference.

The NLRB is suing Boeing for allegedly moving part of the production of its 787 Dreamliner jet from Washington, a unionized state, to South Carolina, a right to work state, to retaliate against Washington workers for going on strike.

“As a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate -- they have to follow the law, but that's part of our system,” Obama said. “What I think defies common sense would be a notion that we would be shutting down a plant or laying off workers because labor and management can't come to a sensible agreement.

“And obviously, the air -- airplane industry is an area where we still have a huge advantage.  I want to make sure that we keep it,” the president added.

Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has spoken out against the case. The pro-business Workforce Fairness Institute called on each candidate to make their opposition to “the NLRB’s job-killing actions” a centerpiece of their campaigns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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