NLRB complaint against Boeing backed by IAM

27.04.2011 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) welcomed the decision of the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) to issue a complaint against the Boeing company. The company was charged with illegal retaliation against Boeing employees in the Puget Sound area in Washington after their decision to relocate production to South Carolina.

USA: On April 20, The National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint charging the Boeing Company with illegal retaliation against Boeing employees in the Puget Sound area. According to the NLRB, Boeing's conduct was "inherently destructive" of rights guaranteed to workers.

"Boeing's decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights," said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski. "Federal labour law is clear: it's illegal to threaten or penalize workers who engage in concerted activity."

The NLRB's complaint is in response to an unfair labour practice charge filed by IAM  which represents more than 25,000 Boeing employees in Washington state. The IAM charge cites repeated statements by senior Boeing executives that lawful, protected activity was the "overriding" factor in the decision to locate a 787 assembly line in South Carolina.

Boeing's decision to locate a 787 assembly line in South Carolina followed years of 787 production delays and an extraordinary round of mid-contract talks in which the IAM proposed an 11-year agreement to provide Boeing with the labour stability it claimed was necessary to keep 787 production in the Puget Sound area.

Despite the IAM offer, Boeing walked away from the talks and signed an agreement with South Carolina that included nearly US $900 million in incentives and tax relief in exchange for building a 787 line in South Carolina.

"Boeing's current management needs to rethink its strategy of repeatedly alienating its most valuable asset: the highly-skilled workers who build Boeing aircraft," said Michalski. "We will not allow our members to be made scapegoats for any purpose."

See full text of the NLRB decision

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