Union cries foul over U.S. House plans for Boeing hearing

Jun 8, 2011

The Machinists Union says it's surprised and disappointed to hear of plans by Congress to hold a hearing next week over the federal labor lawsuit against Boeing. 

The National Labor Relations Board has filed suit against the aerospace giant claiming the company moved manufacturing facilities to South Carolina to avoid unionized workers.  A hearing on that issue starts Tuesday morning in Seattle.  Now the NLRB's attorney is being summoned to a hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government later in the week.

Machinists' spokeswoman Connie Kelliher says it doesn't make sense.

"The NLRB is simply doing its job by issuing the complaint. They are a law enforcement agency and in this particular case, the NLRB would have been remiss in its responsibilities if they hadn't issued a complaint, because the evidence was very public and there was a lot of it," she said.

Boeing says the union made too many demands, so locating its surge line for the 787 Dreamliner in the Northwest would be too expensive.  In particular, it says the Machinists' demands for guaranteed work in the Puget Sound region were unreasonable. 

Boeing said the most recent strike damaged its bottom line and its reputation with airline customers, who are frustrated by the 787 delays.  The company is opening its new facility in South Carolina on Friday.