NLRB’s General Counsel: Don’t Question Us About Boeing

Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon of the National Labor Relations Board today released a statement asserting there is “nothing remarkable or unprecedented about the complaint issued against Boeing Company on April 20.”

Perhaps telling businesses where they can expand and chilling future capital investment is unremarkable to the Acting General Counsel, but it is certainly unprecedented.  The release of such a defensive statement by Mr. Solomon on an active case raises the question of whether the NLRB is starting to doubt the merits of its complaint.

While admonishing others who have raised questions or concerns about the complaint against “litigating this case in the public arena” the Acting General Counsel conveniently leaves out the news releases, “fact checks,” tweets and other materials issued by his office on this matter.  Are businesses and their associations supposed to sit down and shut up while an appointed board injects itself into fundamental business decisions about where to locate and whom to hire? Should the government be allowed to expend taxpayer dollars to damage a company’s reputation and force it to seek legal recourse without question?

Solomon probably just wants to avoid pointed inquiries about the NLRB’s preposterous complaint and the message it sends to other industries operating in the United States.

And in fact, he is scheduled to speak Tuesday in Chicago at a chapter meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association. The topic? “Recent Developments at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB),” promoted on an association flyer with, “Both the National Labor Relations Board and the Board’s General Counsel have implemented numerous changes in federal labor law, encompassing a wide range of procedural and substantive areas. Please join the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel, Lafe Solomon, for a presentation and discussion regarding recent developments at the Board.”

But no questions about Boeing, please.

The National Association of Manufacturers would not like to litigate the case against Boeing Company in the public arena.  Clearly, that is the wrong venue.  What the NAM is concerned about is the effect such a complaint has on the business community as a whole.  Two of the main pillars of the NAM Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs and a Competitive America are to make the United States the best place in the world to headquarter a business and the best place in the world to manufacture.  We cannot reach those goals if a powerful, politicized and capricious agency is able to determine where a company can locate its facilities. That’s a strategy for economic disaster, not jobs.

Joe Trauger is vice president for human resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

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