As a Seattle judge on Tuesday takes up a legal suit between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board, a few members of Congress are preparing for their own hearing on the issue in North Charleston Friday. One of those is 4th District Congressman Trey Gowdy, who represents the Upstate and serves on the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee.
There’s kind of a two-track approach, in my judgment. One, highlight the political shenanigans. And, number two, highlight how weak the legal knees are the NLRB is standing on.
The committee will hold its hearing at the Charleston County Council Chambers Friday. Governor Nikki Haley is expected to testify, along with NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon. Solomon had originally declined to appear, saying it would jeopardize the ability of a fair trial, as he is the top legal official involved in the case. However, he agreed to testify after committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) insisted.
Gowdy said Solomon could expect a rough welcome from hostile Republicans on the committee. The hearing’s title: “Unionization Through Regulation: The NLRBs Holding Pattern on Free Enterprise.”
The NLRB is suing Boeing, accusing the manufacturer of expanding into right-to-work South Carolina to avoid unions at its primary facilities in Washington. Boeing responded that the North Charleston facility is a new line of planes and that no union jobs were lost. The lawsuit seeks an order for Boeing to instead make the planes in Washington.
Gowdy said he and other committee members purposely chose North Charleston because of the impact the lawsuit would have on the area. However, he says it is just a coincidence the hearing is scheduled the same week as the court date.
South Carolina Republicans have publicly called for the National Labor Relations Board to drop its lawsuit, calling it unprecedented and a job-killer. Others are calling their reactions overblown. Several prominent congressional Democrats are accusing them of interfering with the lawsuit. Gowdy said the committee is within its power to demand answers from Solomon.
I would argue that we would be shirking our responsibilities if we did not hold the hearing. I hear folks out there complaining, “You’re trying put pressure on the NLRB. You’re trying to interfere with the legal process.” That is balderdash.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor himself, says he has spent the past week preparing for his line of questions.
The hearing will begin at 12:35.