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temper tantrum
The great Republican NLRB freakout of 2011 is a little hard to write about, because by explaining what's going on in a way that makes it more interesting than watching paint dry, you've almost certainly done the Republicans a favor by sensationalizing it.

According to its website,

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRB is tasked with protecting workers from both employers and unions, should it be necessary. Among the standard "examples of employer conduct that violates the law" found on the NLRB's website is this:

Transferring, laying off, terminating, assigning employees more difficult work tasks, or otherwise punishing employees because they engaged in union or protected concerted activity.

That's the crux of the Boeing case. Boeing did not just move production of its Dreamliner from Washington to South Carolina. It did so in direct retaliation for a strike by workers in Washington, as its executives clearly conveyed in interviews. This is in violation of the very basic principle of the National Labor Relations Act quoted above: you don't get to punish workers for exercising their legal rights. As labor scholar John Logan writes in The Hill,

The NLRB is not telling a private company where it can and cannot do business.

Under U.S. law, Boeing has a right to transfer work from Washington to South Carolina for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all. But it is not allowed to transfer work for discriminatory reasons - in this case, retaliation for Washington workers exercising their right to strike. Boeing has claimed that the NLRB complaint takes out of context remarks on the motivation behind the transfer of work. The comments in question are about as clear as one could imagine. The "over-riding factor" in the decision to locate the jobs in South Carolina, Boeing's executive vice president explained, was the need to avoid further work stoppages.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has pushed Republican presidential candidates to condemn the NLRB complaint, and they've responded with an avalanche of bullshit:

Mitt Romney called it a "power grab." Herman Cain said it was "completely unacceptable ... political games." Tim Pawlenty called it "another outrageous overreach by the federal government." And Newt Gingrich accused the labor board of "basically breaking the law."

Breaking the law; upholding the law. One of those. Most recently, Jon Huntsman called for President Obama to "step in." To prevent a federal agency from doing its job.

The next freakout is where Republicans tipped their hand about what's really going on here. The National Labor Relations Board proposed some modest steps to streamline union representation elections and reduce frivolous litigation and, as Greg Sargent writes,

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is already denouncing the reforms as one of the Obama administration’s “biggest gifts yet to organized labor,” as well as an attempt to “bully companies into relinquishing their free speech rights.”

Oooh, that sounds big, right? And it goes on from there; Media Matters has a roundup of hyperventilation about "quickie elections." Except that as Sargent continues:

But groups like the Chamber can be expected to attack virtually anything anyone proposes in the way of labor reform of any kind. For instance, the Chamber attacked an altogether unrelated reform proposal some time ago in the same terms, denouncing it as “probably the most significant handout to organized labor that we’ve seen in this administration.”

The Chamber, Nikki Haley, Republican presidential candidates, and their ilk know few people follow NLRB or Department of Labor actions all that closely, and by wailing about "handouts" and "bullying" and "power grabs" they can convince at least some to just assume that these actions must be a big deal. To an extent, both the Boeing complaint and the new rule are a big deal. The barriers workers face when it comes to joining a union are so massive and entrenched that anything that lowers those barriers, however fractionally, is important to them. But, to continue the barrier metaphor for a minute, this new rule is more a matter of putting one or two handholds in the 30-foot anti-union wall than of installing a monorail to smoothly convey workers over it. And the Boeing complaint is like saying, "No, companies aren't allowed to stand on top of the barrier kicking people in the face."

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Comment Preferences

  •  ya know, maybe it's time (16+ / 0-)
    “probably the most significant handout to organized labor that we’ve seen in this administration.”

    to give them something to really cry about.  Let's up the minimum wage to $10

    •  Sure, that and paid sick days for everyone (13+ / 0-)

      and electronic voting in union representation elections and real fines to employers that fire people for trying to organize a union and for that matter majority sign-up and arbitration and the rest of it.

      Imagine the freakout then. :)

    •  Oooohhhh, a whole $10 bucks!! (5+ / 0-)

      doesn't it actually need to be more like $20??

      "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

      by Superpole on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:20:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it would already be there, if it had kept pace (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      libnewsie, Arenosa, roadbear, BYw

      with inflation.

    •  Tax the rich...while we have the soapbox. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Arenosa, Sue B, BYw

      Maybe Republicans will sit up and pay attention when elected Democrats start to push them around and push back against their vast lies. That would win my vote.  I'd like to hear the President actually say something that I'd say, endorse something that I would endorse.  

      Before Democrats make any concessions on spending cuts, the only cuts they should talk about -- and talk about publicly -- are a few hundred billion in cuts to tax breaks to big corporations and the rich. Hedge fund managers should not be paying 15% taxes on their incomes no matter how big their campaign contributions, when the top 25 of them are earning a billion dollars a year apiece. Kicking the tax rates of just these 25 people up to the level at which middle class people paid taxes under Bill Clinton would cut $5 billion a year off the deficit. And that's just making 25 people pay taxes like the rest of us. Imagine if we asked the 300,000 people earning a million dollars a year or more to pay for the benefits they get from living in America.

      Every time a corporate CEO gives himself a bonus of 15 million dollars, he's just cut the pay of 15,000 of his employees by $1000 each. That's an extraordinary fact, which does not require a complex grasp of either economics or math to understand.

      Want to change the calculus that leads to that kind of greed? It isn't hard to do: Impose increasingly high income taxes for all income above 1 million, 5 million, and 10 million dollars, with a top tax bracket of, say, 75% for all income above 10 million (far less than Eisenhower's 90% tax rate for people we would today consider just above upper-middle class).

      What would that do (aside from balancing the budget by next week)? It would change the incentive structure in America back from a third-world country to a first-world one, because 75% of the incentive to treat yourself to an extra Jaguar or two rather than to share some of the benefits of your company's productivity with your workers would disappear. And aside from being more fair to the workers who presumably contributed to the productivity that earned their boss such a big bonus, the benefits to economic growth would be substantial, because there are few better ways to stimulate the economy than to put money in the hands of working and middle class people, who spend most of their income, and to take some of it out of the hands of hedge fund managers and derivatives traders, who don't. [my emph]

  •  Excellent story. The GOP always has their (6+ / 0-)

    violins at the ready to play for those poor ole mistreated corporations.

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. --Mark Twain

    by SottoVoce on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:08:08 PM PDT

    •  Chamber of Commerce & National Manufacturers Assoc (0+ / 0-)

      No story of this kind about the NLRB is complete without reference to the CoC and NAM.

      These orgs are fixated on NLRB issues and have been directly responsible for the Republican Party attention to them

  •  Clearly Obama hates labor. And kitties. (5+ / 0-)

    Oh wait. That's just "true progressive" lying sacks of shit that say that. Or teabaggers. Hard to tell the difference.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/...

    [On June 21] the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a proposed rule that would restore a measure of fairness to the union election process. As it stands, most workers who want to form a union will never get the chance. The current rules allow employers to drag out the process for months - in some cases years - while they wage a campaign in the workplace to mislead and intimidate their employees.

    For decades, the federal government has allowed big corporations to litigate workers' efforts to death when they are trying to form a union and get a leg up in supporting their families. Irresponsible companies typically delay the vote and often retaliate against employees who want to form union. During organizing campaigns, more than one-third of employers fire pro-union workers. [...]

    This proposed rule change announced today presents a level playing field. When working people choose to exercise their legal right to form a union, they should be able to do so without the fierce intimidation, bullying and threats from cash-cow-corporations.


    Kevin dropped his ice cream and blames Obama? He's gone hamsher!

    by punditician on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:11:08 PM PDT

  •  Republicans continue to flip out over NLRB... (7+ / 0-)

    If you follow the history of Labor from 1836 to 1934 (NLRB) to 2011 this is not surprising at all.  In 1836 the government passed legislation that legalized employees right to form unions, but their companies did not have to recognize their unions.  In 1934, after the GREAT D, the NLRB was formed and employers had to recognize labor unions.  It's been almost another 100 years and just look at business and government trying to moon walk!!  No surprise!

    •  Yet another FDR product GOP wants to kill (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, libnewsie

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, was established by the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, an act that was subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court.[1]

      The NLRB was established by Executive Order 6763 on June 29, 1934.[2] Its first Chair was J. Warren Madden.

      Leon Despres, the noted Chicago civil rights activist and lawyer, was a trial examiner for the NLRB from 1935-1937.[3]

      We agree our hair is on fire, we disagree with Paul Ryan's plan to use a sledgehammer to put out the fire

      by JML9999 on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:21:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd like to see more NLRB reporting.... (5+ / 0-)

    and in particular, more NLRB reporting that is actually about what the NLRB is doing and its impact on labor, as opposed to NLRB-reporting-as-proxy-battle for Republicans vs. Democrats, or as What-do-we-think-about-Obama? fodder.

    Actual, honest-to-God reporting about how the board is operating, what it does, and what its decisions mean for workers.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:19:55 PM PDT

    •  Good luck with that... (0+ / 0-)

      The day-to-day work of the NLRB is unglamorous slogging through procedural and administrative matters. Except for specialized legal publications, the media long ago gave up covering the NLRB on a consistent basis.

      If you have money to spend on a pricey subscription, you might look at "Daily Labor Report," published by BNA Inc. in Arlington VA.

  •  I'm Former UAW Member... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie, roadbear

    Great diary, but WHAT is the NLRB or the federal government going to do to stop Boeing from doing what they are doing?

    and didn't the let's-build-factories-in-the-south-because-they-are-right-to-work states Horse leave the barn a long time ago?

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:19:56 PM PDT

    •  they're certainly NOT going to order Boeing to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      libnewsie, Superpole, roadbear

      move the factory back.

      At best, Boeing will offer jobs at the Carolina plant to the workers.

      But most likely, Boeing will settle by writing a check out of petty cash for a month or two in wages as "compensation".

    •  There isn't much (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WillR

      While retaliation is not legal, siting future jobs in places where they won't have to deal with the union is legal. A union needs to be able to make the argument that
      they are ultimately better on cost and quality than a company's alternative options.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 08:48:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually it's not--if that's the reason they give. (0+ / 0-)
        While retaliation is not legal, siting future jobs in places where they won't have to deal with the union is legal.

        If they're stupid enough to say so, that's a case they will not win.

        Doing anything anywhere so one "won't have to deal with the union", is illegal.

      •  Right, As I Said, this Horse Left the Barn (0+ / 0-)

        some time ago--

        the barn door was opened for this dumbing down of wages when southern states were allowed to be "right to work states".. more or less like the macquiladoras in Mexico and central America.

        does the "better on cost and quality" formula apply to privatization of services previously done by the federal and state governments?

        if that's the case, studies already show this strategy is a FAIL; both on cost savings and quality of work.

        "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

        by Superpole on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 05:40:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          does the "better on cost and quality" formula apply to privatization of services previously done by the federal and state governments?

          if that's the case, studies already show this strategy is a FAIL; both on cost savings and quality of work.

          Of course it does. Some things are better privatized, some aren't.

          For example, having a private janitorial company clean your buildings is better than in-sourced janitors for the most part.

          Generally speaking, if most private companies outsource a function, there is probably a reason for it and a governmental entity should consider doing the same.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 09:11:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I See.... (0+ / 0-)
            Of course it does. Some things are better privatized, some aren't.

            And... who in government makes the call regarding this? in the case of the pentagon, one of the most massive/bloated agencies the world has ever seen, I supposed to believe they know what's best to outsource and what isn't? I'm supposed to believe corruption/cronyism is not involved?

            gimme a break.

            "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

            by Superpole on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 10:36:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  the perfect explanation of complaint... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie, KJG52, roadbear

    by John Logan.  I've written a letter to the editor and had a guest column in my local newspaper on the NLRB complaint. I tried to make it clear that Boeing broke the law by threatening its WA workers and did it publicly, but Logan framed it perfectly.

  •  I must not understand this (0+ / 0-)

    Clearly I do not understand something. It seems that the basis of the complaint is that the union workers were deprived of work based on the "transfer" of the work to South Carolina.

    However I thought that this facilty was a production expansion, that the work was never located in WA, and that it was not transferred.

    Was the work in question ever located in WA?

  •  We've got one of these Repugs running (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, libnewsie

    our county (Erie Co. in WNY) and he went all out to slash union jobs on the public payroll, end funding to libraries and cultural centers, free health clinics (which will bloat the budget of local hospitals, etc.) and then he hired his cronies in new county government slots that never existed before at pay rates 60% higher ($150k+) than upper-tier administrative salaries. He fashions himself a Chris Christie.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:28:01 PM PDT

  •  I missed something in the FP artice: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, libnewsie, Sue B

    Where's the going after Obama that seems to be the theme for today?

    I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. - President Obama

    by anonevent on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:43:52 PM PDT

  •  About Boeing . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WillR

    It is my understanding that what Boeing did was move part of the new 787 work out of Washington State.

    One of the reasons that they did this was because having all of a company's manufacturing business in a region that is known for earth quakes, is a really bad idea.  Most of the manufacturing that Boeing does is in Washington and California, both put the company at risk for natural disasters.

    While it is true that the company's leadership did say that they have to take the cost of strikes into consideration while they made the decision of where to locate a new factory, I think it is unfair to say that they took work away from Washington State in retaliation for union strikes.

    There is some new work being done on the 787 in Washington state by the union, and there is some being done outside of the region.

    I can understand if the company actually moved current work to a right to work state - that would be retaliation.  I could even understand if all of the 787 was being built outside of Washington state, but that is not happening.

    The leadership explained the factors they were taking into consideration (i.e. transparency) during their decision making process.  This gave the union the opportunity to mitigate the strike risk factor, but they chose not to.  This may have changed the decision of where to locate the new factory (but it would not reduce the risk of having all of their manufacturing in one place, so I am not convinced it would have been enough to keep the work in Washington).

    I really do not understand why this is considered retaliation.  This seems to be telling companies to not discuss their business decisions with Unions, State Government, etc.  If they keep their decision criteria/process a secret, they can not be sued.

    For the record, I am pro-union, even though the work I do is not unionized.  I believe I have benefited from unions, and the fact that they have a smaller presence than in the past is one of the reasons that workers are being taken advantage of.

    And I am not saying the Boeing has never done anything wrong, this one just really strikes me as strange, and a little dishonest.

    •  The thing is, the NLRB's complaint (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chinton, Sue B, KJG52

      is pretty standard. The thing that's out of the ordinary is the fuss over it. It's not up to us or to anyone outside the legal process to make the call.

      The thing to do is let the NLRB's complaint go forward and see if it's found to have merit by the court. Instead, Republicans are trying to politicize it and take it out of the realm of due process.

      •  Pretty standard? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WillR

        Evidence?  If the NLRB wins this case, which I highly doubt, Boeing and other manufacturers will build their new factories out of the U.S.

      •  Pretty standard? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        libnewsie

        Can you point me to the last time the NLRB took an action like this? Was Truman still President?

        •  Well its time to start enforcing the law (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KJG52, roadbear

          even if it has gone un-enforced for too long.

          Boeing held a gun to our head to accept a crap contract and we said NO! This is following through on a treat made to influence a vote. Corporations are prohibited from threatening workers.

          Plutocracy too long tolerated leaves democracy on the auction block, subject to the highest bidder ~ Bill Moyers

          by Lefty Coaster on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 08:32:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The last time? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KJG52, roadbear

          I'm not exactly certain, since as a retiree I no longer have access to Westlaw.  But one 2007 case in San Francisco is pretty close.  It's called Fresh Organics, 350 NLRB No. 32.  In that case a four store retail grocery/vitamin chain closed one of its stores to avoid a union organizing drive.   It first outright fired two employees and then followed that by closing the store resulting in 29 employees losing their jobs, using store remodeling as a ruse.  The normal board order would have required the company to reopen the store, rehire all the employees and pay them backpay with interest.  Unfortunately, the old building needed to be demolished because of structural defects that were discovered and there was no place to immediately reinstate them.  So the Board modified the remedy putting the employees on a preferential rehire list for its other stores, together with a backpay order.

          As you can see, the case was also a retaliation (or perhaps a prophylactic action) to prevent a union from organizing.  And it cost the company big time.  

          The Board panel in the case included two Republican members (Schaumber and Kirsanow.)  Schaumber is now whining about the Boeing case, calling it "unprecedented."  Not sure how he can do that since he's part of the precedent.  Guess it's just whose paying him now.

          There may be more recent cases, but there are certainly plenty of other modern cases following the Darlington Mills model of 1965.  The runaway shop is well-known to the NLRB.

    •  under US law, it's illegal for Boeing to even (7+ / 0-)

      CONSIDER moving the plant because of retaliation.  Even if they list two thousand other reasons, if they ever say anywhere even ONCE that retaliation was a factor in their decision, then it's game over--that is illegal, period.  End of discussion.

      You are of course entirely correct that if the company is smart enough to not ever give its reasons out loud, then nothing can ever be proven.  But alas for them, the very nature of corporate bureaucracy guarantees that any decision made by anybody anywhere will be written down and distributed in triplicate.

      On the other hand, I've been involved in more than one union campaign where the bosses blatantly and openly broke the labor laws, without making even the slightest attempt to conceal it.  Why?  Because they know that there's no penalty for it, so they just didn't care if we filed charges.

      •  But they didn't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WillR

        Boeing didn't move the plant.

        This was a situation where they were going to build a new plant - somewhere.

        Several states wanted the plant, and gave various offers/incentives for locating the plant in their state.

        This is why I am confused, it was new work, a new plant, etc.  Something that had never been done before.  So how could this be taking something away?

        Does this really mean that if a business sets up in one state with a particular union, they can never expand into another state - because that would be taking work away (assuming that there was some manner in which this could be conceivably considered retaliation)?

        Not trying to be difficult, but trying to understand.

        •  the illegal part is "avoiding the union". (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilverWillow, KJG52

          As soon as they mention that, the game is over.  That is illegal.  Period.

          If they move the plant and hire union workers there, no problem.

          •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WillR

            This is confusing to me because people keep saying Boeing moved the plant or took away the work (as in retaliation).  And if Boeing had moved the plant/work to a non-union state I would understand this, and would stop wasting your time.

            But they aren't moving a plant, they are expecting a bunch of new work to come in.  Some of it will go the the union in Washington, some of it will go somewhere else . . .

            If I understand correctly, what you are saying is that it doesn't really matter that they are not moving the plant/work.  The primary issue is that Boeing admitted that strikes had impacted the business, and that this needed to be taken into consideration when selecting the site for the new factory.   And, because they picked a right to work state, they are in effect 'avoiding the union', and that is illegal (and my interpretation of retaliation is immaterial because avoiding the union is just as illegal as retaliation).

            If they had chosen a state that was not a right to work state, but was not Washington, the problem with legality goes away.

            I am curious, what if it was a different union, would that make a difference?

            Thanks for your patience in helping me understand this, I really appreciate it.

            •  that's right. (0+ / 0-)

              The problem isn't that they moved the plant.  The problem is that (1) they are trying to avoid the union, and (2) they were dumb enough to say so out loud.

              If they had simply expanded the very same plant or built the new plant right next door but hired non-union workers, they'd be in the same boat as they are now. If they move the plant elsewhere, it doesn't matter if it's a right-to-work state or not---what matters is that there ain't a union at the new plant, and they moved it there, wherever "there" is, to get away from the union. It is illegal to evade or avoid a union--no matter how you try to do it.

              Even if they move somewhere and allow a different union, that is still a violation, because (1) they can't evade or escape the first union, and (2) they can't change the union anyway because that's not their decision to make.

               

    •  Let me make this simple (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KJG52, roadbear, SunsetMagnolia

      As for why the NLRB is taking on Boeing, I think the diary makes a pretty clear case. The NLRB is doing its job by keeping a company from retaliating against a union who was doing a protected activity. (Contract negotiation and withholding of labor). As for the earthquake theory, I do not know where you got that line of reasoning, but it is pure eyewash. I live in Washington state and there are very few earthquakes and none of the really bad kind. And as for the opportunity to mitigate a strike risk, I would suggest you ask any union officer about that idea. In any organized labor, at the end of the day, when reason and sanity has failed to move a stupid employer, all you have left is the strike. It is rarely used, but you should never let their be any doubt that it would be used to achieve reasonable sharing of profits and decent benefits. Bargaining it away is suicide. And I would say that Boeing would have saved a hell of a lot more money by keeping the entire production line in Washington, instead of outsourcing so much of it overseas. This has cost them at least a billion in correcting quality control mistakes. Washington state has a great pool of skilled workers, that take pride in their work and expect to be paid accordingly. What is wrong with that?

      •  Well, as an architect formerly resident in WA (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fed up Fed

        I can tell you that there is most certainly an earthquake risk, and most of WA is in seismic zone 3 (CA is 4, the highest).

        That being said, the earthquake theory is complete unmitigated BS.  Boeing has built planes in WA for 100 years.  Buildings are structurally designed to deal with earthquake hazard.  If I were worried about natural disasters wreaking havoc on my manufacturing facility, I probably wouldn't have located a new plant in a major hurricane area (Hugo, anyone?).

        There was even a major earthquake in Charleston in the 1880's, IIRC.

        As a Washington native currently resident in South Carolina (and has no personal or family connection to either Boeing or the aviation industry), I will say this to the government of my new state (for now):  F*CK OFF.  Stop stealing tax money from states like Washington--who pay more than they get back so that states like SC can sponge off the Feds and then turn around and hand the money to corporations instead of using it for something that perhaps would be useful to this benighted place, like, say, education.

        Nikki Haley is a grade-A douchebag as is nearly every politician here, including the so-called Democrats.

        I like lemurs -6.50, -4.82

        by roadbear on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 07:36:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It seems simple . . . (0+ / 0-)

        but I am not an expert in this topic (union stuff), and have been very confused by the language of retaliation - to me that meant that you can't take work away, or shut down work at a particular place, and move it somewhere there is no union.

        All of the examples and explanations say that Boeing can't move the work or move the plant.  I really don't understand how you could move work or a plant that does not exist yet.

        So, for me, it isn't simple . . . there is a nuance that seems important (but I may just be too pedantic).

        If someone says that once you start working with a union, all work (existing and new) has to stay with that union, period - no exceptions, I would understand.

        Or if it was stated that when Boeing mentioned the union strikes, they could not build a new plant anywhere except where it could be supported by the exact same union.  I would understand that also.

        With regard to your specific question:

        Washington state has a great pool of skilled workers, that take pride in their work and expect to be paid accordingly. What is wrong with that?

        I don't think there is anything wrong with this.

        I just think there was more that went into the business decision than the Boeing work force (similar to when they moved the headquarters to Chicago).

        Thanks for trying to help me understand.  

        •  It's not that you can't take away from a union (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SunsetMagnolia

          it's that you can't take work away BECAUSE of the union.  You can't move work as a means of breaking the union, chilling union activity, or to avoid union activity.  You can't award work to a non-union plant as a means of punishing or otherwise suppressing union activity.

          Boeing admitted that the entire reason they sent the Dreamliner to SC was because they couldn't get a guarantee from the union that there would be no strikes.  Let me say that again, they deliberately, openly, egregiously moved work to South Carolina because they didn't want union activity to affect their operations.  That's in direct contravention of Federal law.

          The actual complaint.

          Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.

          by Fed up Fed on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 08:05:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This I understand (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fed up Fed

            But I am still stumbling over the 'move work' part (since they were going to build a new factory to accommodate the new work, but they chose not to put it in Washington).

            If it was worded as:

             . . . they deliberately, openly, egregiously built a the new 787 factory in  South Carolina because they didn't want union activity to affect their operations.

            Would this still in contravention of Federal Law?

            But if they had just done it, and not mentioned the unions, it would not be illegal.  Correct?

            I think it is starting to sink in.  It's not just moving the actual work, it also pertains to moving potential future work.  If you are establishing a new work location for reasons other than the union, you are OK.  If you do it to avoid working with a union, it is illegal.  If you do it for a combination of reasons, then you go to court and let the judge decide . . .

            Thanks to Fed up Fed, and Lenny Flank for sticking with me until I understood.   I appreciate it.

  •  Odd how you don't mention Obama's recess appts (4+ / 0-)

    that reactivated the NLRB.

    •  sonfofabitch. Beat me to it again. (0+ / 0-)


      Kevin dropped his ice cream and blames Obama? He's gone hamsher!

      by punditician on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:59:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Be sort of playing into the Republican (3+ / 0-)

      narrative that this is a political gift from the Obama administration to labor, when my point was that this is a standard action by an independent federal agency. We do have those recess appointments (and subsequent confirmations) to thank for the fact that the NLRB is functional. But the point is that these aren't partisan actions by the NLRB.

      •  Well it is a result of a pro-labor (0+ / 0-)

        Democratic administration that wants to enforce labor laws. But I don't know if one is allowed to make that argument on this blog anymore.

      •  it's really not standard at all (0+ / 0-)

        The NLRB was deactivated by Bush and hardly was alive under Clinton.

        This is a big story.

        •  March 2010. (3+ / 0-)

          The recess appointments were a huge story then, and a justly celebrated one.

          Fifteen months later, the specific actions of a functioning NLRB shouldn't be so newsworthy, and the Republican attempts to politicize them are the big story. Unfortunately.

          •  it's been a big story in the RW and business press (0+ / 0-)

            for months and months. Not so much here though.

            •  Tis true. (0+ / 0-)

              The business media and conservative press has been hammering the NLRB story from Day 1 of the Obama Administration.

              But, as pointed out elsewhere here, most of the coverage has been in the context of the contest between the the national Democrats and the national Conservatives, and has had almost nothing to do with labor law or labor rights.

              •  I've never really understood why the wingnuts are (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Fed up Fed, SunsetMagnolia

                so gaga over labor unions anyway. We have the lowest percentage of unionized workers by far of any industrialized country, most of our unions sold their balls to management decades ago anyway, and the few who didn't were defanged when the NLRB ruling about "permanent replacements" took away their strike weapon and left them completely powerless.

                The anti-unioners are foaming and ranting at a boogie-man that simply no longer exists. I wish the union movement were even one-twentieth as powerful as the wingnuts all seem to THINK it is.

                •  Authoritarians need authority (0+ / 0-)

                  Unions are, by their very nature, anti-authoritarian.  Oh, and the big brains at Heritage and Cato told them that unions are bad.  That's really all the thinking they had to put into it.

                  Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.

                  by Fed up Fed on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 08:07:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  here are three reasons: (0+ / 0-)

                  Three important reasons the conservative go nuts about unions:

                  1) Fomenting union fear generates cash contributions from their most important donor base: Big Corporations

                  2) Socialism. Conservatives genuinely believe that unions are socialistic, or worse. This, of course, is based on a profound ignorance on the way that unions operate in America.

                  3) Democratic Party. Conservatives believe that organized labor is financial engine of the Democratic Party. Their theory is that that if you shut down the engine, and Dem Party becomes becomes completely powerless.

  •  Oh - and GOOD JOB OBAMA! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k, roadbear, Matt Z, Jeff Simpson

    Naturally these things will never be mentioned on an anti-Obama "true progressive" site....

    http://www.dcemploymentlawupdate.com/...

    Obama Makes NLRB, EEOC Recess Appointments
    Posted on March 29, 2010 by Ilyse Schuman

    President ObamaDespite increasing opposition, President Obama on Saturday announced his appointment of 15 individuals to various federal agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Among those appointed was Craig Becker, the controversial NLRB Democratic nominee. Also given a recess appointment to the NLRB was the other Democratic nominee, Mark Pearce. However, the President did not give a recess appointment to the Republican nominee, Brian Hayes. On Thursday, Republican Senators sent a letter to Obama urging him not to do so. Randel K. Johnson, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, said of Becker’s appointment: “The business community should be on red alert for radical changes that could significantly impair the ability of America’s job creators to compete.” Becker has been widely criticized for advocating admittedly “provocative” positions in this academic writings. During a hearing, Becker tried to distance himself from these statements, such as his belief that a new body of representation election rules should be created to limit employer involvement, including the holding of so-called “captive audience” meetings. Many lawmakers and business interests continue to question, however, whether Becker can be impartial as a member of the Board. Becker’s term will now last until the end of 2011, unless the Senate appoints him to a full term.

    With the recess appointments of Becker and Pearce, the Democrats now hold a 3-1 majority on the Board. With a 3-1 edge, the focus shifts to the NLRB to advance the objectives of the Employee Free Choice Act, which has stalled in Congress.Whether it was legal to allow the only two sitting NLRB members to operate as a quorum is a question currently under review by the Supreme Court. Before the appointments, the Board consisted of Wilma B. Liebman, who Obama appointed as NLRB Chair in January 2009, and Peter Carey Schaumber, who was designated NLRB Chair in 2008 by former President George W. Bush.


    Kevin dropped his ice cream and blames Obama? He's gone hamsher!

    by punditician on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:59:30 PM PDT

  •  Boeing told up they'd keep the work in Puget Sound (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chinton, KJG52, roadbear

    if we'd accept a crappy contract with lots of take aways. The membership of my local rejected the crappy offer resoundingly. So the move was meant to be a punitive action to punish us for not voting the way Boeing's overpaid leadership wanted us to.

    Plutocracy too long tolerated leaves democracy on the auction block, subject to the highest bidder ~ Bill Moyers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 08:03:05 PM PDT

  •  The next time a righty tell you they are against (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m00finsan, KJG52, Matt Z

    unions and don't need them, because they have the NLRB, tell them the republicans are fighting against them too. As i've argued many times, unions go, so does the NLRB. After all the NLRB exist because of union activism. In other words, there would be no effective NLRB without unions.

  •  We can't compete with unions and regulations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ezdidit, KJG52

    Airbus just spanked Boeing 6 ways to Sunday at the recent Paris air show by offering a more efficient engine option. Boeing can't use those engines because the 4-decade old 737 sits too low to the ground. Airbus comes from the land of strong unions and regulations.

    Maybe we should try some of what they're having.

    •  boeing doesn't have the 787 out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KJG52

      because it spent such a huge amount of time and money trying to fuck over its most productive employees.

    •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

      So then Ford sucks Euro-consortium ass because my 1971 LTD won't accomodate the newest fuel-efficient power plants and drive chains?

      Also, too - the article didn't seem to indicate that Boing was throwing in the towel and ceding the single aisle market to Airbus or anyone else, although it's clearly Boeing's move.

      Or am I just missing the point in my reduced-caffeine state?

      Hey Boehner, your hometown wants to know: WHERE ARE OUR JOBS?

      by here4tehbeer on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 08:40:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forgot the snark tag (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        here4tehbeer

        The point was that strong unions do not make you uncompetitive. The anti-labor hysterics are based not in facts.

        Anyway, about the 737. I still don't understand why Boeing chose to continue developing that line and terminating the newer 757 instead of terminating the 737 and developing the 757. Cheaper in the short run, I'm sure, but in the long run too limited.

        It's not that Boeing can't make good planes. The 787 should be good. As is usual for these thing late and overbudget, but good. "Despite" unionized labor.

        •  As Cameron, the humor-impaired Terminator (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KJG52, alefnot

          was fond of saying: "Thank you for explaining." :)

          Sorry I didn't latch onto that the first go 'round. It's sometimes tough - even around here lately - to tell if someone's snarking or trolling (much like the increasing difficulty of separating reality from The Onion).

          I'm not sure what the 737 mindset was either, although "cheaper in the short run" I'm sure was a compelling argument.  Certainly outfits like Southwest have successfully built their business on a couple models of 737 (cracks and gaping holes notwithstanding), but at some point the viability sarts to wane.

          I dunno - I watched for years as the airlines priced their "general admission" tickets way below profitability levels and then couldn't figure out why they were losing money.  These days it's the Republicans who do nothing but cut taxes then can't figure out why the country is flat fvcking broke.

          Of course their "cures" are strikingly similar: cut fares (taxes and wages) then charge for all the baggage (privatize).

          Hey Boehner, your hometown wants to know: WHERE ARE OUR JOBS?

          by here4tehbeer on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 09:38:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why not to worry about UFOs (0+ / 0-)

    Our corporations would simple sell the planet to potential invaders.

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 08:32:45 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for writing this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pete Rock, roadbear

    This really needs much more public airing.  If for no other reason than there seems to be an enormous lack of understanding of the history and function of the NLRB, what is is, what it does, and how it came about.  And, the traditional media I've seen discussing the issue seems to be in no hurry to educate the public, assuming they have any knowledge of the subject themselves.

    The problem for the country, of course, is that if only the AM radio is framing an issue, there is precious little chance of even coming to a rational opinion with which to form questions for leaders.

  •  This will be settled in the courts n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  It would be good to see (0+ / 0-)

    someone mention that Obama recess-appointed Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the NLRB.

  •  Commerce sits at the nexus of producer (0+ / 0-)

    and consumer, taking a cut of the profit without delivering any service.  To a certain extent, our public corporations (governmental subdivisions) also target that nexus for revenue.  So, commercial interests perceive themselves in a competition with government.  What government collects (and uses to deliver services to the public) is not available for commercial interests to tap.
    There's some truth that reducing government's claim leaves more for commerce.  What's false is the claim that commerce is a source of employment that's actually worth while.  What we've seen in the last three decades is the proliferation of middlemen, all claiming a share of producer profits and consumer costs. Our armies of middlemen (consultants, marketers, advisers, insurers, evaluators, appraisers, agents, factors, etc) have swollen to bursting.  It's not just the death of the salesman that's been exaggerated; we're being consumed by parasites who produce nothing and waste much.

    http://www.youtube.com/cyprespond

    by hannah on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 09:19:26 AM PDT

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