Boeing Employees Hit Machinist Union with Charge for Discriminating against Workers in Right to Work States
Union bosses abuse process to force Boeing to locate production in state without a Right to Work law
Washington, DC (December 28, 2011) – Three Charleston-area Boeing company (NYSE: BA) employees filed a federal retaliation charge against the Washington State union behind the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) high-profile case against Boeing for building a new facility in South Carolina.
The Charleston-area Boeing employees filed the unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB Wednesday with free legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation.
The charge comes in the wake of the recent announcement of a backroom deal cut between IAM, its Local 751 union, and Boeing officials which led to the end of the NLRB's case. The Charleston Boeing employees, who were granted intervenor status in the case by the NLRB in Washington, D.C., were denied participation in the hearing concluding the case.
The charge spells out how IAM union bosses abused the NLRB's adjudicative process to bully Boeing into locating production of the company's 737 Max and future airplane production in Washington State, which does not have a Right to Work law. The IAM union bosses' accusations against Boeing had a chilling effect on Boeing and other companies, deterring them from locating work in South Carolina and other Right to Work states where workers can not be forced to join or pay fees to a union as a job condition.
The charge also details how IAM union bosses retaliated against the Charleston workers after the workers at the Boeing Dreamliner plant expelled the IAM from their workplace before the production line was located there. One of the employees filing the charge led the effort to remove the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union from the Charleston plant.
The charge points out that if the IAM union hierarchy still had a presence in the South Carolina plant, then the South Carolina workers' jobs would not have been at risk. Even NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon – who issued the NLRB's complaint against Boeing – admitted in Congressional testimony that it was inconceivable that IAM union officials would have pursued charges against Boeing if workers had not removed the union from their workplace.
"Workers should be free to choose whether or not to affiliate with a union and not have to worry about their jobs as a result," said Mark Mix, President of National Right to Work. "The IAM union bosses' dangerous abuse of federal labor law, which is supposedly intended to protect the rights of individual workers, has set a devastating precedent to discourage job providers from locating work in states with Right to Work laws on the books – the very states luring job providers and independent-minded workers alike."
Meanwhile, Foundation attorneys have sent a letter to the NLRB's Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) asking him to investigate the conduct of the ALJ overseeing the NLRB's case against Boeing in allowing the backroom deal cut between company and union officials to serve as the basis for the case’s dismissal.