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Business Leaders, Governor, Members of Congress Express Serious Concern with NLRB Complaint Against Boeing

Monday, May 9, 2011 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following a meeting with more than 60 business leaders, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and several Members of Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other leading trade associations expressed serious concern with the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) complaint against Boeing.

“The precedent that the NLRB is attempting to establish here is so fundamentally unsound and troublesome that it cannot be ignored,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee benefits for the U.S. Chamber. “The board has chosen to adhere to an ideological agenda rather than sound economic and labor policy and the ramifications could be catastrophic for American job creators.”

The overreaching complaint filed recently by the NLRB is based on a decision to build a new airplane manufacturing plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Boeing’s plant is nearing completion and will create thousands of new American jobs. Existing construction alone has already created more than 1,000 jobs in South Carolina. The NLRB has alleged that Boeing violated the National Labor Relations Act in discriminating against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers by not instituting this new manufacturing in Puget Sound, Washington, and has ordered an end to the work being done in Charleston.

“Business Roundtable CEOs, whose companies have nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues and 13 million employees, are very concerned about the damaging impact the NLRB's actions will have on U. S. job creation, especially at a time of 9% unemployment,” said John Engler, President of the BRT. “This threat--which is wrong-headed and unsupported by precedent--strikes right at the heart of every business and enterprise located in the U.S. The NLRB should re-examine the evidence and reverse course.”

“It is disturbing that at a time when companies doing business in the U.S. are engaged in intensive competition on a global scale, a company would be sanctioned for engaging in open and honest discussions with its union about economic realities,” said Dan Yager, chief policy officer & general counsel for the HR Policy Association. “If anything, the NLRB should seek to ensure that employers and unions are able to speak freely with each other, consistent with their rights under Section 8(c) of the National Labor Relations Act. Any failure by the Board to protect those rights can only further harm the larger economic interests of all Americans.”

“Manufacturers are alarmed by the recent action of the NLRB and the dangerous new precedent being set, said Joe Trauger, Vice President of Human Resources Policy for NAM. “This action is effectively a ban on companies from expanding in right-to-work states if they now have production facilities in a state with union representation. Companies are deeply concerned about the impact this complaint will have on their operations and ability to create jobs. The NLRB is reversing 45 years of its own precedent and calling into question companies' fundamental business decisions on where to expand or whom to hire.”

Joining these business groups and Gov. Haley at the press conference were Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rand Paul (R-KY), Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), and South Caroline’s Attorney General Alan Wilson.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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