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The NLRB: Now Extracting Ransom (for Unions) From An Employer Near You...

You have to love this one.  The National Labor Relations Board, traditionally in place to ensure union elections go according to the law and to sort through claims of unfair labor practices from both unions, employees and employers alike, is now in the ransom business.

Read this article related to the NLRB dropping from the New York Times.  Cliff notes appear below:

"In the Boeing case, Mr. Solomon asserted that Boeing’s decision to build its $750 million Dreamliner factory in South Carolina constituted illegal retaliation against the machinists’ members in Washington for having exercised their federally protected right to strike. He cited public statements by Boeing officials about the machinists’ militancy in Washington State as one piece of evidence in the case, although Boeing officials said that lower costs were their major reason for choosing South Carolina.

After months of sharp rhetoric, Boeing and the machinists announced a surprise agreement on a new contract last week. Last week, Local 751 of the machinists’ union announced that 74 percent of its Boeing workers in Washington State had voted to ratify a four-year contract extension that included substantial raises, unusual job security provisions and Boeing’s commitment to expand aircraft production in the Puget Sound area.

The union then asked the labor board to withdraw the case."

Daaaaaamn.  Here are all the facts you need to know:

1.  The NLRB took action to tie up Boeing from opening a new plant in a non-union state.

2.  The claim existed until the union got a new contract.

3.  Once the union got a new contract, the NLRB withdrew its complaint.

Translation: The NLRB helped the union extract a ransom from Boeing.  The NLRB gave the union a bargaining chip to take to the negotiation table, then did what the union asked them to do once the new contract was released.

Winner:  The union.  Loser: Anyone who likes governmental agencies that are charged with enforcing the law not to overreach, pick sides or generally serve as a hindrance to the creation of jobs in a down economy.

You're not included in that description of who the loser is?  You're probably reading the wrong blog.

Comments

Tansy

I wasn't following the Boeing case and only saw an article outlining the outcome re: the contract and subsequent withdrawal of the complaint. Even not having known anything but those two items, it felt exactly as you described in this article. On the surface - very very suspect.

Catrinus Wallet

It's called the department of LABOR (not the Department of Management) for a reason!

theoldman

Only in America!!!!! ;>) N.I.C.E.

Marge Innovera

Of the 3 "facts" only 2 & 3 are facts. #1 is speculation or opinion with the implication that Boeing took the action with the express purpose of damaging Boeing. The writer is free to express an opinion but to cloak opinion in the guise of fact is disingenous at best and dishonest at worst.
Of course I forget that management, by nature is idealistic and philanthropic.My bad.

Dane M. Partridge, Ph.D.

Dropping the case when the charging party (in this case the union) withdraws its charge is standard operating procedure, not suspect. Issuing a complaint if there is evidence supporting the allegation that management acted in retaliation for employees engaging in a legally protected activity (which strikes are) is a simple application of labor law. Objective legal experts have differed as to the merits of the Boeing ULP charge (e.g., former NLRB chair William Gould questioned the complaint in a recent opinion column in the New York Times) but at its core the complaint was not a radical departure from past decisions, despite what the Chamber of Commerce or the Wall Street Journal editorial page might suggest. The comment re: the down economy is misplaced; nowhere does the National Labor Relations Act say that the Board's enforcement of labor law should differ based on whether the economy is growing or declining.

Nathan

@Marge, we may argue and debate the NLRB’s motives, but did not the Board’s action prevent Boeing from opening a new plant, as KD stated in the facts?

Randy Martinez

I fail to see this as a bad thing...maybe I am missing something. If Boeing felt it was right, maybe it should have just stayed the course or wrapped the new location in the settlement. However, from what I have read, Boeing pretty much admitted it was true. And Mr. Partridge's comment is true in almost every legal context. Companies engage in scorched earth litigation, including endless appeals, and often will have an appeal withdrawn due to a settlement.

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