Today, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it has decided to drop its case against Boeing, over the airplane manufacturer’s opening of a plant in South Carolina, a right to work state. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which originally brought the complaint, asked the NLRB to drop the case after an overwhelming majority of its members approved a contract that increases production in Seattle.
While the NLRB’s announcement today is good news for Boeing workers in South Carolina who saw their jobs threatened, this case should never have gotten as far as it did. By agreeing to pursue the IAM’s complaint over the South Carolina plant, the NLRB set a destructive precedent. The Board functioned as a negotiating weapon for the union to pressure the employer, over a matter on which labor law has no bearing: where to locate.
Unless Congress reins in this agency, unions will now have every reason to take their disputes with employers to the NLRB, which, by taking on the IAM’s complaint over a plant’s location, has signaled that just about anything is fair game.
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