Boeing sought delays, said no to talks in NLRB case

Machinists Union District Lodge 751 filed its complaint with the National Labor Relations Board for one simple reason: to stop Boeing’s illegal threats against its own employees.

“When it comes time for you to vote on a new Boeing contract,” District 751 President Tom Wroblewski told his members, “I want you to be able to vote on whether or not it’s a good contract. You shouldn’t have to choose between a bad contract and losing your job, because Boeing has threatened to move your work somewhere else.”

Wroblewski’s comments come in the current edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.

The newsletter includes a number of articles about the NLRB’s move on April 20 to file a complaint against Boeing, accusing the company of repeatedly violating the rights of District 751 members under federal labor law.

The articles include:

  • Reaction to the news from rank-and-file Machinists, who said they’d felt threatened by Boeing executives who had said over and over they had moved work to Charleston because of the 2008 strike and would take more work away unless they quit going on strike;
  • A summary of the facts in the case as presented by the labor relations board – including a list of the Supreme Court decisions and seven NLRB rulings that it is citing as precedents;
  • An article explaining how the complaint could help Boeing workers in Charleston should they ever decide to form a new union.

Wroblewski also reported that Boeing management has not been interested in talks to settle the issue, even though the NLRB says that’s typical in these kinds of cases.

In his monthly message to members, Wroblewski took aim at the “misleading, half-baked or flat-out untrue” statements being made about the NLRB complaint by Boeing, its allies in Charleston and “their political attack dogs in Congress.”

Wroblewski dismissed complaints by Boeing about the timing of the NLRB complaint, which comes a few months before the company was scheduled to start assembling 787s in Charleston.

The main reason the decision came when it did was because Boeing kept asking for delays, he said.

“I lost track of how many times Boeing asked for – and received – more time during the investigation,” Wroblewski wrote. “For them to complain now that the process took too long is much like a teenager whining about having run out of gas after deliberately driving past a half-dozen gas stations.”

Likewise, the union’s decision to file the complaint and the subsequent NLRB action had nothing to do with trying to shut down Boeing’s Charleston operation, nor South Carolina’s right-to-work laws, nor was the complaint any kind of gift from the Obama administration.

Instead, it was a simple matter of holding Boeing accountable for repeated violations of the law, he said. “There have to be consequences when a corporation breaks the law, just like there are consequences if you or I did.”

Wroblewski told Machinists that “given all that you do for Boeing every day, I believe you’ve earned the right to be treated fairly by the company’s leadership when it comes to contract time. And if we have to take them into federal court to ensure that happens, that’s just what we’re going to do.”

Also in this month’s AeroMechanic, you’ll find:

  • Coverage of the Machinists Union’s participation in the April 8 “We Are One” rally, which drew 10,000 people to Olympia; Machinists General Vice President Gary Allen spoke at the rally, telling the crowd “corporate welfare is what’s killing us” and adding that “’liberty and justice for all’ is not just a cute slogan – it’s a call to action.”
  • A report on the first round of talks between workers and management at defense contractor URS at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station; the union reported “a number” of tentative agreements were reached during the talks, which will continue;
  • Stories on District 751’s community service activities, including a report on volunteers honored at the annual MVP banquet, and a profile of one Machinist – Eldon Smith – who volunteered more than 220 hours of his own time last year, assisting the staff at Camp Killoqua near Stanwood; and
  • Reports on upcoming District 751 charity events, including the Flight for Sight Fun Run June 4 in Everett, Puppy Putt 9 on June 18 and the Guide Dogs of America Charity Golf Tournament July 17 in Redmond.

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, Machinists Union District Lodge 751 now represents nearly 27,000 working men and women at 44 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2010, District 751 members used collective bargaining to negotiate contracts with 22 of those employers, without a single workday lost to strikes.

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  1. […] a careful investigation, providing Boeing with every opportunity to defend itself. It even granted Boeing’s numerous requests for delay. In the end, the Board decided it was compelled to act in the face of Boeing’s admission that […]

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