Updated: Boeing vs. Union-Controlled NLRB Heats Up

Update: On Wednesday, Boeing filed its formal response to the NLRB, which you can view or download here.

Following the union-controlled NLRB’s attack on complaint against the Boeing Company’s decision to open second 787 plant in South Carolina, politicians, pundits and free-market advocates have all criticized the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel actions as an example of government overreach on behalf of union bosses.


In the nearly two weeks since the actions of the NLRB broke in the news, with the exception of a press release vowing to vigorously fight the NLRB’s “legally frivolous” complaint, the company has been fairly quiet.

On Tuesday, the Boeing Company’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, J. Michael Luttig, sent the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon a strongly worded letter, stating (in part):

A number of these statements, which are critical to your case against Boeing, fundamentally misquote or mischaracterize statements by Boeing executives and actions taken by the Company. You have a responsibility to correct these misquotations and mischaracterizations, for the public record and also for purposes of the complaint you have filed. Through these misquotations and mischaracterizations, you have done a grave disservice to The Boeing Company, its executives and shareholders, and to the 160,000 Boeing employees worldwide. And, of course, you have filed a complaint based upon these misstatements that cannot be credibly maintained under law.


In addition to being wholly uninformed, it creates the impression that you and your office are now in search of a theory that will support a predetermined outcome, even a theory that has nothing to do with the National Labor Relations Act.

A full copy of the letter is below.

Separately on Tuesday, ten GOP Senators also sent a terse letter to the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel, pointing out that:


It is clear that Boeing’s legitimate business decision had no adverse impact on the Puget Sound workforce – indeed, 2,000 additional jobs have been created there since 2009. Under well-established precedent, employers may consider mitigating the impact of strikes as a business objective.


We are also concerned about the timing of your announcement. Boeing announced its decision to open an additional production line in South Carolina in October 2009. However, your office waited until April 2011 to file the complaint, just three months before the new production line is scheduled to begin in July 2011 .

The Senators’ full letter is below the Boeing Company’s letter to the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel.

Boeing letter to NLRB

Senate Letter to NLRB Regarding Boeing


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


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