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writing for godot

Boeing vs. NLRB

Sunday, 15 May 2011 06:34
By James Sanderson -- USW Local 7898 President

The National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB) complaint against Boeing has caused quite a stir and SPIN here in South Carolina. According to the NLRB charge, Boeing chose to set up its second 787 production line in North Charleston, S.C., in retaliation against the Machinists' Union because of repeated strikes against the company and the possibility the union could go on strike again.

Since the NLRB filed the complaint against Boeing, The South Carolina print media has editorialized against the NLRB action. The media is spinning out of control. It is very obvious that the media isn’t interested in presenting the facts or laws that pertain to this specific incident. Instead of printing facts the media is reporting bold face lies from our elected leaders. First of all, I don’t know of any labor union that is against anyone having the right to work. The NLRB complaint would do nothing to the Right to Work Law.

Both sides do have rights under the National Labor Relations Act, (NLRA), but only one side, Boeing, violated the law. Boeing committed an unfair labor practice — not by putting its factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state; it broke the law when it made it clear to employees it was relocating because of strikes. This action created a chilling effect on its employees as well as the state of Washington.

I applaud the NLRB general counsel's decision. The NLRB is simply doing its job, defending the rights of workers to collectively bargain and to act in concerted activity. Were Boeing's actions to go unchecked, companies would be free to coerce and intimidate workers, their unions and states into deals that primarily profit the company. This would make a mockery of the fundamental human right of workers to stand together in order to balance out the power of corporations.

Yet instead of simply having its day in court, Boeing is trying to use its tremendous political clout to stop the actions of this independent federal law-enforcement agency. It is trying to win politically because it cannot win its case in a court. This explains why Governor Nikki Haley, Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Tim Scott, SC House Representative Chip Limehouse are running around conducting press conferences with misleading information. Governor Nikki Haley is stating that this will hurt South Carolina’s Right to Work Law. Pure Nonsense!! Please take the time to read SC Right to Work Law for yourself and learn the true definition. The SC RTW Law provides workers, who work at unionized facility, the right not to join the union and still receive the same benefits. That’s it. Here is the link to South Carolina’s Right to Work Law.

Governor, why do you want to mislead the Citizens of South Carolina? The truth of the matter is the Right to Work law won’t be impacted at all. The NLRB complaint also isn’t asking for the South Carolina Plant to shut down. Again why all the spin? It reminds me how elected leaders reacted when the Civil Rights Law was passed. Remember how our elected leaders reacted when Shannon Faulkner wanted to attend the Citadel? Our tax dollars were used to pay for elected leader’s stance supporting the Citadel violating the Law. The Supreme Court had to weigh in and stop South Carolina from supporting law breakers. How about the businesses that continues to violate the law by hiring illegal aliens? We are a nation of Laws. I strongly believe in the rule of law.

I don’t blame the workers at Boeing in Washington State for standing up and challenging the actions taken by Boeing. They have that right under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). It is odd that the broadcasting and print media hasn’t printed the part of the NLRA that is alleged to have been violated by Boeing. Let’s look at why it is important for the workers of Boeing in Washington State.

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, IAM, SPEEA and the many other unions that represent workers at Boeing want the company to expand production in Washington State. They want to design and produce the 787 and the next generation of 737s here. They feel they have the most skilled machinists and engineers, the best aerospace apprenticeship program and a great public infrastructure to support the aerospace industry. However, they simply want the company to treat its workers and the state fairly and to obey the law.

During the past 10 years they have demonstrated what they can accomplish when they work together. Organized labor has worked with the congressional delegation, Boeing and others to win the Air Force tanker deal. The recent tanker announcement is recognition of the commitment Washington State, the workers and the unions have made to Boeing and the aerospace industry. What they expect from the company is a commitment to locate design and production work in Washington State. They expect Boeing to stop the coercive work and political threats that continue to harm Washington’s state's economic security.

The National Labor Relations Board issued the complaint against Boeing after a careful investigation, providing Boeing with every opportunity to defend itself. It even granted Boeing's numerous requests for delay. In the end, the Board decided it was compelled to act in the face of Boeing's admission that its move was motivated by its desire to avoid lawful collective bargaining.

Boeing claims that no current employees in the Puget Sound have been harmed by moving work to the second line and that employment in Washington State has increased. The truth is, every job on the unlawful second line in South Carolina displaces good middle-class union jobs in Washington, and their communities and Washington State lose desperately needed revenue and economic activity. South Carolina being a RTW State had nothing to do with Boeing violating the law. The workers at Boeing here in South Carolina have the LAWFUL RIGHT to form a Union. It is against the law for the Company to interfere with or deny the workers their right to form a union.

Boeing admitted to retaliating against the union and in so doing made an illegal transfer of work. Rather than blaming the NLRB for doing its job, we should all be asking why Boeing proceeded so recklessly with so much at stake. Boeing, grow up and face your responsibilities.

I would ask that we act responsible and support the rule of law. The court will decide this issue and if it isn’t what the Business community desired then work to change the law. God Bless America and the US Workers. your social media marketing partner
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