NLRB-Boeing Case Grounded Over Subpoena Dispute
Stoel Rives attorney Tim O'Connell commented in the Puget Sound Business Journal over the much-delayed National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") case against the Boeing Co. ("Boeing"). The highly politicized case turns on whether Boeing retaliated against union actions when the company decided to build a second 787 assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C. The NLRB has issued a subpoena to Boeing to release documents relevant to the case, but a Board subpoena can only be enforced by a federal District Court. Boeing is concerned that the subpoena might disclose proprietary information, and that the union will use documents obtained in the process for leverage in their 2012 contract negotiations. The federal court subpoena proceeding could stretch on for months, especially if any of the parties appeal.
"It's pretty clear, from the employer's perspective, that the union has every intent to publicize whatever information they can get," said O'Connell. He added that with the five person NLRB board set to drop below a quorum on December 31, the case was unlikely to be resolved in advance of the scheduled 2012 contract negotiations between Boeing and Machinists Union Local 751. "It will be a very complicated situation, because they will be in the middle of negotiations, this case will be unresolved, and if the [NLRB] board only has two members, it's not going to get resolved."
"NLRB-Boeing Case may not be resolved before union contract talks start" was published by the Puget Sound Business Journal, November 2, 2011.