HELP Committee Republicans Express Strong Concerns with Recent NLRB Complaint Against Boeing

Members Question Legal Reasoning and Motive Behind Complaint

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Republicans, led by Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), today wrote to the Acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to express their strong concerns with the recent decision to file a complaint against Boeing for announcing plans to open a production facility in South Carolina.  The senators wrote that they are troubled by the chilling effect this action could have on other business decisions across the country. The other members of the committee who signed the letter include Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

“We have a duty to ensure that the National Labor Relations Act is being enforced in a fair manner,” wrote the senators.  “In this and other decisions, we believe that you have ignored the proper balance set forth in the Act between the employees’ right to collectively bargain and the employers’ right to due process.  We question the legal reasoning and motive behind the complaint, as well as the proposed remedy to force Boeing to move its additional production line to Washington State."

The senators noted that Boeing’s legitimate business decision had no adverse impact on the Puget Sound workforce and that in fact 2,000 additional jobs have been created there since 2009.  The HELP Committee members were also concerned about the timing of the announcement.  Boeing announced its decision to open an additional production line in South Carolina in October 2009.  However, the NLRB waited until April 2011 to file the complaint, just three months before the new production line is scheduled to begin in July 2011. 

“This complaint has the potential to eliminate thousands of newly created and well-compensated jobs in South Carolina.  It will have a negative effect on important decisions made by American businesses every day regarding who to employ and where to expand, and negate the ability of states to attract established U.S. employers by providing financial incentives and welcoming business climates,” the senators wrote.

A copy of the letter is attached.

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