House Oversight Chairman Seeks Answers From Board’s Top Lawyer
(Source: January 2012 National Right to Work Committee Newsletter)
The legal blitz launched against Boeing and its Palmetto State employees last spring by Lafe Solomon, the President Obama-appointed acting general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), is now over.
Unfortunately, the grave threat to American employees’ Right to Work stemming from this case is unabated.
Last April 20, Mr. Solomon, the board’s top lawyer, asked an NLRB administrative law judge to block Boeing from initiating a second Dreamliner 787 aircraft production line in Right to Work South Carolina.
Mr. Solomon’s case was built on a complaint filed by International Association of Machinists (IAM/AFL-CIO) union bosses.
Employees in Right to Work States Are Mr. Solomon’s Principal Targets
Boeing had no right, union officials claimed, to expand production in a Right to Work state so as to cut the cost to customers, employees and shareholders of the disruptive strikes that the union brass had repeatedly instigated at the company’s west coast facilities over the years.
The most recent such strike, in 2008, lasted 58 days and cost the company $1.8 billion.
Of course, production workers as well as managers, shareholders and customers are hurt by strikes, and it makes perfect business sense to try to avoid them.
Nevertheless, Mr. Solomon, egged on by IAM union chiefs, insisted Boeing’s expansion choice was motivated by “anti-union animus,” and therefore illegal.
From the beginning, Right to Work supporters recognized that Boeing and the South Carolina employees who would lose good jobs if Mr. Solomon’s position prevailed were not the acting general counsel’s only targets.
Until the legal theory behind the Boeing complaint was rejected in an NLRB or federal court ruling, they reasoned, any business owner who acted on the desire to extract himself or herself from resource-consuming Big Labor class warfare might be found guilty of committing an “unfair labor practice.”
And employees in any state or locality with a comparative advantage in labor relations in any industry were potential targets. However, in practice, employees in the 22 states with Right to Work laws barring forced union dues and fees would be the main targets, since those states are where most U.S. job growth has occurred in recent decades.
Congressman Darrell Issa: House Investigation Into Boeing Case Will Continue
“The dismissal of the Boeing complaint in December was good news for Right to Work South Carolina, the company, and its employees,” said National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad.
“Unfortunately, this out-of-court resolution does nothing to stop Lafe Solomon from using the same radical reinterpretation of federal labor he concocted last April to kill thousands of other jobs for other independent employees in other industries.
“Mr. Solomon himself has recognized the chilling impact of the Boeing case. In one internal NLRB e-mail obtained by the educational group Judicial Watch, he cynically quipped that, by bringing it, he had ‘screwed up the U.S. economy.’
“The fact is, even with the Boeing case now out of the way, Mr. Solomon is still ‘screwing up the U.S. economy.’
“That’s why the Committee is now working closely with Capitol Hill allies to turn up the pressure on President Obama to remove Mr. Solomon from his post as acting general counsel and nominate in his place someone who is markedly less contemptuous of federal labor statutes and precedents.
“The Committee’s ongoing efforts were recently given a boost by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa [R-Calif.], who announced December 14 that his investigation into the circumstances of the Boeing complaint is continuing in the wake of the case’s resolution.”
Mr. Mourad urged Right to Work supporters everywhere to call the White House comment line, 202-456-1111, and leave a message asking for a new NLRB general counsel.