When Boeing Co. two years ago announced plans to open a plant in South Carolina to assemble many of its 787 Dreamliner commercial jets, the decision triggered an outcry by the International Association of Machinists. The IAM's unofficial partner, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), filed a complaint against the company this April to block its opening of the facility, located in a Right to Work state. Last Friday, December 9, the board dropped its action. With the plant up and running for a half year, Boeing won a "victory" -- so says CNN. Or did it?
The National Labor Relations Board must have a broad definition of "coercion" when it comes to employers. With unions, the standard seems a lot narrower. On April 20, the board filed a 10-page complaint (see pdf) against Boeing alleging the company's decision in 2009 to locate its second assembly plant in South Carolina represented illegal retaliation against employees belonging to the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM).