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The Machinists’ Catch 22: Boeing Employee Files NLRB Charge Against Union

Since President Obama’s NLRB announced its prosecution of the Boeing Company some weeks ago for its opening a second 787 assembly line in South Carolina, the media and politicians have had much to say about the NLRB’s attack on business, Right to Work States, as well as the obvious overreach of a union-backed labor board attempting to make business decisions.

However, less well publicized is the simple story of how the employees in South Carolina were once unionized by the very union the NLRB is going to bat for—the Machinists’ union. That is they were until they kicked the union out of Charleston.

In fact, in all likelihood, were it not for the fact that the employees in South Carolina chose to exercise their legal rights to decertify the union, the Machinists (as their legal bargaining representative) would not have pursued charges against Boeing—charges that, if the union and NLRB are successful, will most likely destroy the South Carolina jobs.

If the union would have filed the same charges against Boeing while the employees were members of the union, the union’s actions the South Carolina employees could have filed charges against the union for a failure to represent them.

However, since the employees had decertified the union, the union’s charges against Boeing (as well as the NLRB’s complaint and remedy to take the work from South Carolina) appear to be nothing more than retaliation against the Charleston employees for exercising their right to become union free. [This was noted here last week.]

Furthermore, since the union is allegedly still pursuing the [re]unionization of the Charleston employees with a promise that, if they unionize, the union would bring job security to the Charleston employees (inferring that the union would make the case against Boeing would go away if Charleston employees were unionized), this would indicate the union is holding employees’ jobs hostage. If true, this could also be considered unlawful coercion on the part of the union.

Reaching a similar conclusion, last Wednesday, attorneys for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the NLRB on behalf of a Charleston employee at Boeing.

Yesterday (6/15/2011) National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys filed Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the Machinist union (IAM) for their client Dennis Murray, who previously led a successful effort to decertify the Machinist union at Boeing’s Charleston facility.

Murray claims that the union’s current charges against Boeing and the resulting Obama appointee National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Lafe Solomon’s complaint against Boeing that would eliminate over 1,000 existing jobs in South Carolina are the result of retaliation against him and the workers of South Carolina by the IAM for previously voting out the union.

A copy of the full charge is here.

Now, it will be incumbent on the NLRB to investigate the charge and, if the charge is found to have merit, then the entire argument the NLRB is prosecuting Boeing over is built on an illegal motive by the union—retaliation against the Charleston employees for choosing to become union free.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Cross-posted.

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