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View Diary: Outsourcers' Bill of Rights to come to a vote on Thursday (54 comments)

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  •  This legislation will not pass the Senate (1+ / 0-)
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    nextstep

    and the President would never sign it. This issue with Boeing should be decided in court. People I know who practice law in this area seem confident that Boeing will win and that the NLRB really reached for this decision.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 12:59:42 PM PDT

    •  Frankly I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

      Boeing said the magic words that every labor law treatise says you shouldn't say.  They pointed to labor costs associated with union activity as the motive for closing the plant.  That is not an overreach on the part of the Board.

      Fact are stubborn things. -John Adams

      by circlesnshadows on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 01:37:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  circlesnshadow - I am no expert (1+ / 0-)
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        nextstep

        But the people I know point to the fact that no workers in Seattle were terminated and that this was all new business. It wasn't like Boeing opened a new plant and closed the old one. All the employees in Seattle are still at work.  It is also my understanding that a company can add new capacity anywhere in the world for any reason, including non-union labor and lower labor costs. However, as I noted I have no expertise in this area.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 01:47:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In practice, yes (1+ / 0-)
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          VClib

          But what the company specifically said was that they were moving a plant to South Carolina that would have been in Seattle because of labor costs they feared would be associated with union activity.  It is irrelevant that all of the employees are still at work.  The threat of outsourcing on the basis of labor discrimination is coercive and the Act exists to prevent that sort of coercive employer activity.  I may be embedded on the union side on this one but I've also heard plenty of labor law professors express support for the General Counsel's position on this one.  

          When you say the magic words, you have violated the Act.  We like to tease the efficacy of the NLRA because sometimes it's as easy as saying anything other than the magic words.  But this is a case where Boeing said exactly what they're not supposed to say.  The only reason it's not open and shut is politics and job optics.

          Fact are stubborn things. -John Adams

          by circlesnshadows on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 02:31:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Building not moving (0+ / 0-)

            Slight correction...Boeing built it's new Dreamliner production plan in SC, they didn't move production or any plant out of Washington.

            Was it retaliation for Union activity, probably, but the simple answer is for the UAW, and Mechanist Unions to organize the new plant if that's what the workers there want.

            •  no, the answer is even more simple (0+ / 0-)

              Boeing broke the law.  It is illegal to build a plant somewhere with the intention of escaping a labor union.  Period.  Boeing can wave its arms all it wants about "we didn't move anyone" and "nobody lost their job". It doesn't matter diddley doo. They were stupid enough to say, out loud, that the reason for locating the plant where they did was to escape the union.  And that is flat-out inescapably illegal.  They simply have no legal defense to that.

              The standard remedy for that sort of labor law violation is a "bargaining order", which orders the company to recognize and bargain with the union, period.

              •  Ehh (0+ / 0-)

                I wouldn't go that far.  Bargaining orders are considered strong remedies, not standard remedies.  The standard remedy from the NLRB is "knock it off", "post a memo", and "make them whole", minus earned wages (including unemployment insurance).  

                Fact are stubborn things. -John Adams

                by circlesnshadows on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 09:04:40 AM PDT

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          •  Boeing made it into a threat during contract talks (0+ / 0-)

            Threats made to influence a contract vote are explicitly prohibited. The law is VERY CLEAR on this point.

            Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

            by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 09:52:46 PM PDT

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          •  you are precisely correct (0+ / 0-)

            Under Federal labor law, it is illegal to locate a plant, or relocate it, or even threaten to move it, in order to escape a labor union.  Period.

            Most companies, of course, aren't stupid enough to admit out loud that this is what they are doing.

            •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

              The commnet from the Boeing exec was made during and interview, not a negotiation.  

              The all american comapny Caterpillar has a sister plant in the southeast for every UAW plant in the midwest that makes, manufactures, assembles the exact same thing as the other plant does.  IF the UAW strikes the midwest facilities, the plants in the south can ramp up and cover the lost production from the plants that are on strike.  How long before the NLRB tells caterpillar they have to close down the plants in the south?

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

              by Dose o Reality on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 05:27:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it doesn't matter where the comment was said (0+ / 0-)

                Once the company admits, in any way or form, that it is locating or relocating a plant to avoid a union, the game is over.  That is a violation of Federal labor law.  Period.

                It is of course extremely difficult to prove in a legal proceeding that a company was motivated by avoiding a union. The Boeing case is unique precisely because they were stupid enough to admit it out loud.

                As for Caterpillar being an "all American company", your ignorance is showing. Caterpillar has plants located in China, South Africa, and Australia, and was one of the primary corporations that lobbied heavily against the "Buy American" provision that was originally written into the Obama stimulus bill, and was gutted under corporate pressure.

        •  Threats to influence a contract vote are unlawful (0+ / 0-)

          Boeing made it into a club to extract concessions from workers during a contract negotiation. The law is VERY CLEAR on this point.

          Despite the threat we turned down that company's lowball offer  anyway because it would have took so much away from us.

          Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

          by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 09:59:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I do have some expertise, since I filed an (0+ / 0-)

          awful lot of unfair labor practice complaints with the NLRB over the years.

          Your understanding is completely wrong. The law is excruciatingly clear----it is illegal to locate (or relocate) a plant if any part of the reason for so doing is to escape a labor union.

          Period.

          End of debate.

          And Boeing apparently admitted that this is exactly what they did. This is a fight that Boeing has no legal leg to stand on.

          As for your lawyer friends, it sounds as if not a one of them is a labor lawyer.  Any first-year labor-law student would know the provisions of the Wagner Act.

          •  What are the rules? (0+ / 0-)

            Since you say "the law is excruciatingly clear", I assume you are talking about statutory law (as opposed to case law which can be overturned by the courts) or regulations developed under the auspices of the law. Do you have a cite for this?

            I'm wondering because I'm trying to figure out if a business violates this law if they select a plant site

            1. ONLY,
            2. PRIMARILY, or
            3. to ANY EXTENT
            to avoid Unionization of the site.

            Also, does this apply ONLY to businesses which already have Union employees somewhere or does it apply, for example, to businesses with no Unionization selecting their first site?

            I have to believe there are hundreds of thousands of businesses that have selected a plant site, possibly their first, to avoid Unionization to some extent. If that is illegal, why haven't we heard more about NLRB pursuing these claims against businesses regularly? For example, I have a hard time believing that Walmart doesn't include to some extent a state's 'right to work' status when deciding where to open stores and, especially, distribution centers. Has the NLRB just been afraid to pursue these cases knowing that it would lead to the law being changed to limit the restriction on this practice to decisions primarily motivated by retaliation?

            •  the case law is clear (0+ / 0-)

              It is illegal to do anything, anywhere, to avoid a union.  Workers have the legal right to "concerted activity", and employers have no right whatever to interfere with that. If you list a thousand reasons for doing something, and one of those reasons is "to avoid a union", that is illegal.

              You are of course entirely correct that companies do it all the time anyway. And it is all illegal.  The problem is that PROVING this was one of their reasons is very very very difficult, and so charges are virtually never filed over it.  That's what makes the Boeing case so startling--they were apparently stupid enough to declare their motives out loud--which cooks their goose.

            •  some additions . . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WillR
              Also, does this apply ONLY to businesses which already have Union employees somewhere or does it apply, for example, to businesses with no Unionization selecting their first site?

              Federal labor law protects "concerted activity". That means it applies to any situation, under any circumstances, where two or more employees are together attempting to alter or change their terms or conditions of employment.  No union is necessary--ALL workers have the protection of Federal labor law whether they are in a union or not.

              I assume you are talking about statutory law (as opposed to case law which can be overturned by the courts) or regulations developed under the auspices of the law.

              The statutory law is Section 7(a) of the Wagner Act, which protects "concerted activity". Most of the case law regarding what is or isn't "concerted activity" was settled half a century ago.The Repugs would be pretty ballsy to try to reverse it now--although they might try.

              BTW, labor law is not heard by or enforced by Federal courts--it is done through Administrative Law Judges, the same ones who hear administrative cases in the other Federal agencies such as SEC or Social Security.

              ALJ's are pretty nonpolitical--they are appointed on the basis of civil service tests, and they do not have to be confirmed by the Senate.

              The NLRB members themselves, of course, are entirely political.

    •  WTF??? really???? (0+ / 0-)

      Taking your word for it, I have no Idea. But "People I know who practice law in this area seem confident that Boeing will win and that the NLRB really reached for this decision."

      Is totally unacceptable.

      people are hurting man. and if Boeing is doing nothing wrong, create those jobs NOW!!!!!

      I mean really. dont you people get it. Working people need Jobs!!! Now.

      WTF is this even an issue. assuming what you say is correct.

      I just dont get it. You are saying that Boeing is in the right. And thousands of jobs are being killed. WTF????

      What the HELL is the problem here, really. Explain it to me????

      •  he's wrong (0+ / 0-)

        Boeing is not in the right. And the lawyer friends he is talking to don't understand labor law.

      •  Xdust - Boeing built the plant (0+ / 0-)

        The plant has been completed in South Carolina and Boeing has hired local employees and is manufacturing planes. No jobs were lost in Seattle and hundreds of new jobs were created in South Carolina. The issue is will the new employees in South Carolina be represented by the union and what damages Boeing will have to pay if they are found to be n violation of the labor laws.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 06:44:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  they likely will have no damages to pay (0+ / 0-)

          Under Federal labor law, the only damages that are paid are back wages, and there are none involved here. (For msot labor law violations which do not involve any back pay, the only legal penalty for violating the law is, literally, to be told not to do that again. That is one reason why so many companies simply break the law, deliberately and with malice aforethought, with impunity.)

          A possibility is that we may see a "bargaining order", which is sometimes issued when a company breaks the law to attempt to avoid a union. A bargaining order is simply an order from the court to recognize the union and begin bargaining with it, without going through the process of an NLRB election.

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