Politics Cloud NLRB-Boeing Case

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Stoel Rives attorney Tim O'Connell discussed in the Puget Sound Business Journal the political maneuvering around a National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") case against The Boeing Co. ("Boeing"). At stake is a $1 billion factory Boeing constructed in South Carolina to build 787 Dreamliners. The case turns on whether or not Boeing was "retaliating" against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 751, when it decided to build the factory.

With the prospect of Boeing being forced to stop assembling Dreamliners following a negative NRLB decision, Congressional Republicans have sought to pressure the NRLB. The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee attempted to subpoena all documents and communications between NLRB and the Machinist union, a step the NLRB has so far resisted.

O'Connell predicted that political complications could cripple the ability of the NLRB to resolve the case. For one, the five-person NLRB board currently only has four members and two of their terms will expire by the end of the year. The U.S. Senate has so far resisted considering President Barack Obama's appointees, and has blocked any "recess appointments." According to O'Connell, "if nothing changes, if it takes more than three months for parties to finish putting in evidence on this case, and the Senate continues to prevent Obama from any recess appointments, and Obama doesn't appoint new members, as of Jan. 1, 2012, the NLRB isn't going to be able to do anything."

"Politics could cook the Boeing-NLRB outcome" was published by the Puget Sound Business Journal, August 26, 2011.

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