Republican subpoenas NLRB records on Boeing decision, union
Monday, August 08, 2011 at 12:39 pm
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair issued a subpoena Monday for all documents, including emails and phone logs, related to a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that Boeing opened a non-union factory in South Carolina to punish union workers in Seattle.
The subpoena, by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), also covers at least ten previous requests to the agency from congressional Republicans — including one from U.S. Rep. John Kline of Minnesota. (Kline is also the author of a House bill that would remove the NLRB’s authority to enforce penalties for labor violations like Boeing’s).
The NLRB has already released more than 1,000 pages of documents related to the decision, but has argued that all the agency’s files can’t be released publicly because the case is still proceeding against Boeing.
The case originated with a 2010 complaint by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers that Boeing had engaged in unfair labor practices by shifting work on the 787 Dreamliner to a non-union South Carolina plant. The NLRB found that Boeing made ”coercive statements and threats” to employees for engaging in protected activities like strikes.
Republicans have widely criticized the NLRB decision. In a May letter to the agency, Kline called the decision “deeply troubling” and said it could have “significant consequences for job creators and workers.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also condemned the decision.
NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon said in a statement that it was the first time since 1940 that the NLRB has been subjected to a congressional subpoena.
“For months, my staff and I have diligently tried to satisfy the Committee’s desire for information while also preserving the integrity of our process and the rights of the parties in a case being actively litigated,” Solomon said, noting that the agency had already released more than 1,000 pages of documents and was still working to find a reasonable solution.
Issa is subpoenaing all NLRB documents or communications related to Boeing or the International Association of Machinists, including emails and phone logs. He’s set a deadline of Friday.
“NLRB’s action in the case against Boeing has the potential to create a job-killing precedent just as U.S. manufacturers are working toward economic recovery,” Issa said in a statement. “That a Washington, D.C.–based bureaucracy could dictate the work location and parameters for a world-leading company is unprecedented in a global economy and hobbles a leading American job creator at a time of economic vulnerability.”
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