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What the NLRB Decision on Boeing Means

One of the more important decisions that has come down from the NLRB is the recent ruling that Boeing must maintain a second production line in its Washington State plant rather than move production of some of its Dreamliner 787 work to its non-unionized plant in South Carolina. 

  According to the Acting General Counsel of the NLRB, Boeing violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by “making coercive statements and threats to employees for engaging in statutorily protected activities, and by deciding to place the second line at a non-union facility, and establish a parts supply program nearby, in retaliation for past strike activity and to chill future strike activity by its union employees.”

  Boeing officials said in a video-taped press statement that, "the overriding factor (in transferring the line) was not the business climate.  And it was not the wages we’re paying today.  It was that we cannot afford to have a work stoppage, you know, every three years."

  That statement and others are in direct violation of Section 7 of the NLRA that protects “concerted activity,” and are considered an Unfair labor Practice under Section 8(a)(1) and (3) of the Act.

  In plain language, Boeing officials not only made the mistake of breaking the law but also justified it on the record. Certainly the case would have been more difficult to prove if the public statements had not been made.

  While the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), have demonstrated the expected outrage, neither of their statements have considered the fact that Boeing broke the law.

The NLRB Fact Sheet can be accessed at

New Hampshire Right-Work Bill Almost Law

  The New Hampshire Senate passed a right-to-work bill by a veto-proof majority on April 20. It is the first state in the Northeast to pass this type of anti-union law.

   If New Hampshire enacts this bill, it will join 22 right-to-work states that make it illegal for unionized workers who negotiate a labor contract that requires each member who benefits from the agreement to pay for the costs involved in negotiating and policing the contract. 

   New Hampshire Governor John Lynch says he does not support this measure but both state houses have large enough majorities appear to be able to override a veto.

   The House bill included a provision, removed by the Senate, that said unions were not required to represent employees who did not join or pay dues.  The House must either agree with the Senate version or work to reconcile the differences before the legislation is sent to the governor. 

   Data demonstrates over and over that right-to-work laws lower wages, benefits and work standards for both union and nonunion workers without showing any positive impact on job growth. Welcome New Hampshire to the race to the bottom.

State Pension Update

While Illinois and New Jersey, the bad boys of pension underfunding seem to dominate the news, most other states are not suffering the dire predictions set out by public pension critics and talking point conservatives. 

Nonetheless, a number of states have used the “sky is falling” cries to alter the public sector pension landscape. According to PEW Center on the States researchers, 29 states made changes in the last three years to their retirement plans by increasing employee contributions or reducing benefits.  Only three houses passed laws requiring their states to set aside enough money for all their obligations.

   Some states are now considering changing the pension plans of current public workers after an arbitrator ruled that Detroit could educe the pensions being earned by police sergeants and lieutenants. The city was allowed to reduce the rate at which the officers earned pension benefits from 2.5 percent of salary per year to 2.1 percent. 

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