Case Against Boeing Draws National Attention

The nation’s largest newspapers are weighing in on last week’s complaint by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charging Boeing with multiple violations of federal labor law.

The case, which has implications for union members in all 50 states, centers on a decision by Boeing to open a 787 assembly line in South Carolina. According to the board, the decision was crafted primarily to retaliate against Boeing workers who have in the past, or may in the future, exercise their lawful right to concerted activity.

While the facts and the law in the case are undisputed, newspaper editorials are all over the map. The New York Times describes the NLRB complaint as “a welcome effort to defend workers’ right to collective bargaining.” Meanwhile, the Seattle Times came out against the NLRB ruling, saying Boeing’s decision to move should not be reversed by the federal government.

Another view of the issue came from Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein, who applauded the decision by the board and cited the 1935 law protecting workers’ rights and the NLRB’s obligation to enforce it.

“If Boeing or the Chamber of Commerce or the South Carolina political establishment wants to change or repeal the law, it is certainly within their rights to try,” wrote Pearlstein. “After 75 years, it would be a useful debate for the country to have again. But given the further consolidation of corporate power and two decades of stagnant wages, I’m not sure they’ll like how it turns out.”

The next step in the process will be a hearing before an NLRB administrative law judge in Seattle, set for June 14, when all parties will have an opportunity to present evidence and arguments.