Today’s announcement that the National Labor Relations Board withdrew its complaint against Boeing is being both celebrated by state leaders–and being used as evidence against the NRLB.
The original complaint was that Boeing violated fair labor practices in sidestepping its Washington State workers to locate a new plant in North Charleston, in non-union South Carolina.
The NLRB backed off after the union that said it was wronged voted to ratify a new contract extension with Boeing that, among other things, included a promise from the company to build a new 737 aircraft facility in Washington.
The specter of a drawn-out suit, or possible punishment for the aircraft company, worried SC officials.
Fourth District Congressman Trey Gowdy has vehemently criticized the labor board since they sued Boeing. He also serves on a committee that has been investigating NLRB’s motivations since it sued.
Today, Gowdy said he and the committee chaired by California Congressman Darrell Issa will step up the investigation.
“It confirms my suspicions that the filing of the complain in the first instance was calculated to force Boeing to put more work into Washington State,” Gowdy said. “We continue to believe the NLRB is an activist, executive branch entity.”
“THe NLRB is supposed to be a quasi-judicial, even-handed, balanced, fair entity. They are not supposed to be a mediator to drive one side to negotiate with the other,” said Gowdy.
He says the Oversight and Government Reform Committee should be able to get the records it asked for:”The fact that there is no longer any ongoing litigation certainly removes the excuse that they gave us for not providing documents.”
Today, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, based on the same reasoning as Gowdy, called for the Senate to look into the NLRB’s actions.
“I find the whole episode between the Machinists Union and the NLRB against Boeing highly suspicious. We have already seen NLRB communications, made available by a Freedom of Information Act, which shows the NLRB had a callous and negative attitude against Boeing’s decision to open a South Carolina facility,” Graham said today in a media release.
“A congressional investigation to answer questions about the NLRB’s role, attitude, and relationship with the parties is definitely warranted. I would urge the appropriate Senate committees to look closely into this matter. If the Senate refuses to act, I would strongly encourage the House of Representatives to move forward.” said Graham.
The senator also said he will continue to place an indefinite Senate hold on nominations to the NLRB Board. Beginning in January 2012, the NLRB will have just two members.
The Supreme Court last year ruled that an agency board with just two members lacks the authority to issue case rulings.