“I can’t not issue a complaint in the face of such evidence.” That was the reaction from National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, when asked about his decision to issue a complaint against the Boeing Company.
Few NLRB complaints have generated as much publicity. Hundreds of media outlets reported on the announcement, ranging from workers’ rights advocates who welcomed the news, to conservative politicians who issued spittle-flecked condemnations.
Among the most misleading statements that followed the complaint was an erroneous claim, repeated ad nauseam in the conservative blogosphere, that unions were seeking the ability to veto where a company locates and conducts business.
A similar canard came from Boeing’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel J. Michael Luttig, who declared, “This claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent.”
The “frivolous” statement by Boeing ignores the extensive investigation by the NLRB and fails to acknowledge established case law, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions that clearly establish an employer’s legal boundaries regarding retaliation against employees for protected activity.
Additionally, Boeing complained about how long the Board took to complete its investigation, while omitting mention of their own campaign to prolong the investigation with multiple requests designed to delay any complaint by the NLRB.
“The NLRB investigated and found clear violations of federal labor law,” said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski. “The next question is, what remedy is appropriate? What we want is for the government to enforce the rule of law. We want an effective remedy that will tell our members in Puget Sound that Boeing cannot get away with retaliatory behavior.”