The National Labor Relations Board has formally dropped its unfair labor practices case against Boeing, a day after members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) ratified a new four-year contract with the company. The sides closed the new labor deal, which included a commitment by Boeing’s to build the 737 MAX in Renton, Wash., after the IAM promised to petition the NLRB to withdraw the complaint against the company.
Earlier this year the NLRB accused the company of retaliating against its employees for past strikes by building a new 787 plant in North Charleston, S.C., a move that sparked a bitter partisan clash between right-wing elements in the U.S. Congress and the Administration of President Barack Obama.
“I am very happy to announce that my office has approved the withdrawal of a charge by the Machinists union against the Boeing Co., which brings our case in this matter to an end,” NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon said in a written statement issued today. “Based on that request, the administrative law judge presiding over the case dismissed the complaint and remanded the case to our regional office in Seattle for further processing. This morning, Regional Director Richard Ahearn approved the union’s written request to withdraw the charge, and the case is now closed.”
Solomon stressed that his office “always preferred” a settlement between the IAM and Boeing to an extended court proceeding, and that some 90 percent of “meritorious” NLRB cases get settled as a result of agreements between the parties before the end of litigation.
“From the beginning of this case, and at every step in the process, we have encouraged the parties to find a mutually acceptable resolution that protects the rights of workers under federal labor law,” added Solomon. “ The parties’ collective bargaining agreement, ratified this week, does just that.”
In its own statement issued today, Boeing reiterated its assertion that the case never held any merit. “We have maintained from the outset that the complaint was without merit and that the best course of action would be for it to be dropped,” said Boeing. “Today that happened. Boeing is grateful for the overwhelming support we received from across the country to vigorously contest this complaint and support the legitimate rights of businesses to make business decisions.”