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The National Labor Relations Board (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. Boeing claimed that the NLRB’s action represented radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent. Through FOIA, Judicial Watch compelled the NLRB to produce documents demonstrating top NLRB officials cheerleading for union interests and indicating political motivation behind the NLRB’s action. The NLRB recently dropped its complaint following a settlement between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists.

Judicial Watch continues to investigate partisanship in Obama’s NLRB. 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 Democratic-controlled 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.

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has received documents from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 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 (Judicial Watch v. National Labor Relations Board (No. 11-1470)).

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The documents, obtained pursuant to Judicial Watch’s original July 14, 2011, Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent lawsuit, include internal correspondence amongst NLRB attorneys discussing the Boeing lawsuit. Among the highlights:

  • On April 22, 2011, Acting NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon sent an email to Wilma Liebman, outgoing Chairwoman of the NLRB, “The article gave me a new idea. You go to geneva [Switzerland] and I get a job with airbus [French company]. We screwed up the us economy and now we can tackle europe.” Solomon’s comment was in response to an article published in French on the European Planet Labor website noting the devastating potential economic impact on South Carolina if the plant were to be scuttled: “Two billion dollars were invested in Charleston, 1,000 employees were recruited, and the site was supposed to open in July… until the NLRB meddled in.”
  • On April 22, 2011, NLRB attorney Debra Willen received an email, in which Republican Sen. James DeMint of South Carolina is ridiculed as “Sen. Dement.”
  • On May 12, 2011, NLRB Deputy Assistant General Counsel Joseph Baniszewski emailed a political cartoon to Deputy Assistant General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo mocking the state of South Carolina with regard to Boeing Corporation’s decision to locate its manufacturing facility in that state.
  • On April 28, 2011, Miriam Szapiro sent an email to NLRB attorney Debra Willen commenting on an article in The Economist expressing some support for the Boeing lawsuit: “Exactly; it just shows you how incredibly reactionary the US is, that the conservative Economist thinks we’re Neanderthal.”
  • On April 20, 2011, Mara-Louise Anzalone, counsel for Acting NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon, took exception to U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) statement, “As Senator, I will do everything in my power, including introducing legislation cutting off funding for this wide goose chase, to stop the NLRB’s frivolous complaint [against Boeing].” In an email to NLRB regional attorney Anne Pomerantz, Anzalone writes, “Awesome. Sounds like they’re just going to furlough you and me.”

The documents also include Lafe Solomon’s personal notes detailing conversations with Senator Graham, who said, according to the notes, that “the ‘retaliatory charge’ of the Machinists against Boeing would have huge economic and political consequences” and that if the NLRB filed the complaint, the senator would come out “full guns a-blazing.” The notes also describe Senator Graham as saying “that he was more reasonable than his Senate counterpart (Sen. De Mint).”

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, 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.”

Judicial Watch last month released NRLB documents that detailed additional controversial comments by NRLB staff.

“These documents provide further evidence that the Obama administration’s attack on Boeing is irresponsible and politically motivated,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “NLRB attorneys come off as juvenile politicos rather than professionals interested in arbitrating a labor dispute. The utter contempt for congressional oversight shows that the NRLB thinks it is above the law. We hope these documents help educate the public about the ongoing abuse of power by this agency.”

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 Democratic-controlled 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.

Documents Uncovered

NLRB Attorney Cheers Union Attack on Boeing: “Hooray for the red, white and blue”

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Washington, DC — October 5, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has received documents from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) 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 (Judicial Watch v. National Labor Relations Board (No. 11-1470)).The documents, obtained pursuant to Judicial Watch’s original July 14, 2011, Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent lawsuit include internal correspondence amongst NLRB attorneys discussing the Boeing lawsuit. Among the highlights:
  • A May 5, 2011, email from Barry Kearney, Associate General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, to colleagues at NLRB concerning a press release issued by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) attacking Boeing: “Hooray for the red, white and blue.” NLRB attorney Miriam Szapiro responded shortly thereafter, “Good. I like this part [at last they can put it to some good use]: “the NLRB’s long-term professional Regional Staff, National Office of Advice and General Counsel reviewed this case for a year.…” [emphasis in original]
  • A July 12, 2011, email from NLRB Regional Director Richard Ahearn to NLRB hearing officer Peter Finch, responding to an article in The Hill newspaper about a request from Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, seeking documents related to the NLRB Boeing lawsuit: “We will politely decline.” (Mr. Ahearn signed the NRLB complaint against Boeing.)
  • A May 5, 2011, email from NLRB attorney Miriam Szapiro warning an unknown recipient (name blacked out) about reading a Wall Street Journal article supporting Boeing and criticizing compulsory unionism: “don’t look at yesterday’s WSJ; you’ll puke.”
  • In response to an April 29, 2011, Wall Street Journal article, calling on President Obama to explain the NLRB lawsuit against Boeing, NLRB attorney Jayme Sophir issues a one word email response on May 2, 2011, to NLRB attorney Debra Willen, Division of Advice: “Ugh.”

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, 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.”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 Democratic-controlled 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 NLRB is supposed to be a neutral arbiter of labor disputes, not a cheerleader for unions,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents confirm that the Obama NLRB is abusing its power on behalf of a powerful union to attack a major U.S. corporation. No wonder Judicial Watch had to sue the Obama administration to obtain these records.”Judicial Watch expects additional documents will be released to it by the NRLB.

Watchdog Seeks Document about NLRB Decision to Sue Boeing to Shut Down Dreamliner Aircraft Production in South Carolina Factory

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — August 16, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on August 15, 2011, against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking 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 (Judicial Watch v. National Labor Relations Board (No. 11-1470)).

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 International 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.

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