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Thu, Aug 18, 2011

NLRB Sued For Documents Concerning Boeing Lawsuit

Judicial Watch Seeks Documents Pertaining To Decision To Sue Boeing, Shut Down Dreamliner Aircraft Production in SC

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit has been filed by Judicial Watch against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The suit seeks records concerning the NLRB's decision to file a lawsuit against Seattle-based Boeing for opening a $750 million non-union assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina to manufacture its Dreamliner plane (JW v National Labor Relations Board (No. 01470)).

With its July 14, 2011, FOIA request and related lawsuit Judicial Watch seeks records of internal communications between officials, officers, and employees of the NLRB related to Boeing and the agency's decision to file a lawsuit. Judicial Watch also seeks records of communication between the NLRB and the Obama White House, the Internal Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and any other third party trade union, among others. Judicial Watch also seeks any NLRB records related to the impact of the new Boeing plant on employment in South Carolina. The timeframe for these requests is January 20, 2009, to July 14, 2011.

By letter of July 28, 2011, the NLRB acknowledged that the agency received Judicial Watch's complaint on July 14, 2011. However, the NLRB has failed to respond within the statutory allotted twenty business days. To date, the NLRB has failed to produce any documents or indicate when responsive documents will be released.

The NLRB filed a lawsuit in April 2011, against Boeing, claiming that the company's decision to open a Dreamliner production line in South Carolina was in retaliation against The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for a series of union strikes that reportedly slowed production of the plane in 2008 in Washington State. According to Boeing's spokesman, the NLRB's "claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent. Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region."

In addition to refusing to respond to Judicial Watch's FOIA request, the NLRB has also reportedly failed to respond to a subpoena issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee seeking information related to the lawsuit. "This refusal by NLRB to abide by the law further heightens concerns that this is a rogue agency acting improperly," Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said. "The integrity of NLRB and its leadership is clearly in question." 

Last year, President Obama bypassed the U.S. Senate and recess-appointed Craig Becker to head the NLRB's five-member board. The Becker appointment was made after the U.S. Senate refused to move forward on his confirmation. An ally of ACORN, Becker had previously worked for the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, major financial backers of Obama and the Democratic Party. Controversially, Becker has refused to recuse himself from certain NLRB decisions affecting his former union clients.

"The American people have a right to know the facts surrounding the extraordinary decision by the NLRB to sue Boeing in order to effectively shut down an entire factory in South Carolina. There are serious questions about the NLRB's apparent abuse of power. There is simply no good reason for the NLRB to keep these records secret – unless it has something to hide. Yet again we see that President Obama, through his appointees, is contemptuous of an open and accountable federal government," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

FMI: www.judicialwatch.org

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