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Boeing letter to NLRB

Boeing letter to NLRB

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Published by Washington Examiner

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Published by: Washington Examiner on May 03, 2011
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09/13/2011

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rti-
BOEING
J.
MichaelLuttig
ExecutiveVicePresident
&
GeneralCounselTheBoeingCompany100NRiversideMC5003-6027Chicago,IL60606-1596
May3,2011Late
E.
Solomon,EsquireActingGeneralCounselNationalLaborRelationsBoard109914thStreet,N.W.Washington,D.C.20570-0001DearMr.Solomon:Iwriteregardingstatementsinyourcomplaintandelsewhere-includingstatementsattributedtoyouinthe
NewYorkTimes
onApril23-aboutBoeing'sdecisiontoplaceitsnew787finalassemblylineinSouthCarolina.Anumberofthesestatements,whicharecriticaltoyourcaseagainstBoeing,fundamentallymisquoteormischaracterizestatementsbyBoeingexecutivesandactionstakenbytheCompany.Youhavearesponsibilitytocorrectthesemisquotationsandmischaracterizations,forthepublicrecordandalsoforpurposesofthecomplaintyouhavefiled.Throughthesemisquotationsandmischaracterizations,youhavedoneagravedisservicetoTheBoeingCompany,itsexecutivesandshareholders,andtothe160,000Boeingemployeesworldwide.And,ofcourse,youhavefiledacomplaintbaseduponthesemisstatementsthatcannotbecrediblymaintainedunderlaw.
YourStatementThatBoeing"Tram/erred"UnionWork
Asaninitialmatter,repeatedstatementsinthecomplaintallegethatBoeing
"removed
work"fromPugetSound(~6),"decidedto
transfer
itssecond787Dreamlinerproductionline"toSouthCarolina(~7(a)),and"decidedto
transfer
asourcingsupplyprogram"toSouthCarolina(~8(a)).YourApril20pressreleasemakesthesameassertion:"TheNLRBlaunchedaninvestigationofthe
transfer
ofsecondlineworkinresponsetochargesfiledbytheMachinistsunionandfoundreasonablecausetobelievethatBoeinghadviolatedtwosectionsoftheNationalLaborRelationsAct."Asyouwellknow,nowork-noneatall-was"removed"or"transferred"fromPugetSound.Thesecondlineforthe787isanewfinalassemblyline.AsitdidnotpreviouslyexistinPugetSoundorelsewhere,thesecondassemblylinecouldnothavebeen"removed"from,"transferred"orotherwise"moved"toSouthCarolina.Simplyput,theworkthatisandwillbedoneatourCharleston,SouthCarolinafinalassemblyfacilityisnewwork,requiredandaddedinresponsetothehistoriccustomerdemand
for
the787.NomemberoftheInternationalAssociationofMachinists'union(lAM)inPugetSoundhaslosthisorherjob,orotherwisesuffered
 
~
BOE'NG
anyadverseemploymentaction,asaresultoftheplacementofthisnewworkintheStateofSouthCarolina.YourownRegionalDirector,whoseofficeyouhavetaskedwithprosecutingthiscase,understandsthat,andhasaccuratelyandpubliclydescribedthematterdifferentlythanyou.AstheSeattleTimesreportedlastyear,"RichardAheam,theNLRBregionaldirectorinvestigatingthecomplaint,saiditwouldhavebeenaneasiercasefortheuniontoargueifBoeinghadmovedexistingworkfromEverett,ratherthanplacingnewworkinCharleston."DominicGates,
MachinistsFileUnfairLaborChargeAgainstBoeingoverCharleston,
SeattleTimes,June4,20IO.Sincenoactualworkwas"transferred,"itnowappearsthatNLRBofficialsarealready,viapublicstatements,transformingthetheoryofthecomplainttosaythat,becauseBoeingcommittedtotheStateofWashingtonthatitwouldbuildalloftheCompany's787sinthatstate,thebuildingofairplanesinSouthCarolinaconstitutes"transferred"workorwork"removed."Thus,onApril26,anNLRBspokeswoman,NancyCleeland,apparentlytoldanewsorganizationthat"thechargethatBoeingistransferringworkawayfromunionemployeesstemsfromthecompany'soriginalcommitment'totheStateofWashingtonthatitwouldbuildtheDreamlinerairplanesinthisstate.'"Thepremiseunderlyingthatassertion-thatBoeingcommittedtotheStateofWashingtontobuildalloftheCompany's787sinWashington-isfalse.BoeingdidnotcommittotheStateofWashingtonthatitwouldbuildallofits
787s
inthatstate.Boeinghonored-·andfully-allofitscontractualcommitmentstotheStateofWashingtonlongbeforethedecisiontolocatetheCompany'snewproductionfacilityinSouthCarolina.ThenotionthatBoeinghadsomehowcommittedtoWashingtonStatetobuildall787sinthatstateisneithermentionednorevensuggestedeitherinthelAM'schargeorinyourrecentlyfiledcomplaint,andyouneverassertedthatBoeinghadmadesuchcontractualcommitmentstotheStateofWashingtonintheseveraldiscussionswehavehadwithyouinthemonthsprecedingyourfilingofthecomplaint.Hadyoudoneso,wewouldhaveexplainedtoyouwhysuchanunderstandingwasplainlyincorrect.Icalluponyoutoquicklyandfullycorrecttherecordonthispoint.Inadditiontobeingwhollyuninformed,itcreatestheimpressionthatyouandyourofficearenowinsearchofatheorythatwillsupportapredeterminedoutcome,evenatheorythathasnothingtodowiththeNationalLaborRelationsAct.
YourStatementThatBoeingSoughtTo"Punish"UnionEmployees
MischaracterizingwhatBoeingdidbycallingita"transfer"ofwork,orsuggestingthatBoeingbrokecommitmentstotheStateofWashington,isbadenough.Farmoreegregious,however,arethestatementsthathavebeenmadeconcerningthemotivesandintentofBoeing'sleaders-specifically,thatseniorBoeingexecutivessoughtto"punish"unionemployeesandto"threaten"themfor
2
 
0-
BOEING
theirpastandpossiblefuturestrikes,throughtheCompany'sstatementsanditslocationofthesecondfinalassemblylineinSouthCarolina.The
NewYorkTimes
quotesyouassayingthatBoeing"hada
consistentmessage
that[theCompanyanditsExecutives]weredoingthisto
punish
theiremployeesforhavingstruckandhavingthepowertostrikeinthefuture."(StevenGreenhouse,
LaborBoardCaseAgainstBoeingPointstoFightstoCome,
NewYorkTimes,April23,2010,emphasisadded.)Neitheryourcomplaintnorthepost-hocstatementsyouandotherofficialsoftheNLRBhavemadesincethefilingofthecomplaintoffersasingleBoeingstatement-letalonea"consistentmessage"-thatBoeingactedto"punish"itsemployees,and,needlesstosay,youoffernoevidenceofthisinyournationalmediaintervieweither.ThecomplaintallegesthatBoeingCommercialAirplanesCEOJimAlbaughstatedthatBoeing"decidedtolocateits787DreamlinersecondlineinSouthCarolinabecauseofpastUnitstrikes,andthreatenedthelossoffutureUnitworkopportunitiesbecauseofsuchstrikes."(Complaint,-r6(e).)ThecomplaintcitesaMarch2,2010interviewofMr.AlbaughbytheSeattleTimes,butdoesnotpurporttobequotinganyparticularstatement.TheNLRB'swebsite,however,offersa"factsheet"thatquotesMr.Albaughassaying:"Theoverridingfactor[intransferringtheline]wasnotthebusinessclimate.Anditwasnotthewageswe'repayingtoday.
It
wasthatwecannotaffordtohaveaworkstoppage,youknow,everythreeyears."http://n
I
rb.govInode/443
It
would,ofcourse,havebeenentirelypermissibleunderexistinglawforMr.AlbaughtohavemadeastatementthattheCompanyconsideredtheeconomiccostsoffuturestrikesinitsbusinessdecisiontolocateworkinSouthCarolina-c-oreventhatitwasthesalereasonforsuchdecision.ButMr.Albaughdidnotevensayeitherofthesethings.Mr.Albaugh'sfullstatementwasasfollows:Well
I
hinkyoucanprobablysaythataboutallthestatesinthecountryrightnowwiththeeconomybeingwhatitis.Butagain,theoverridingfactorwasnotthebusinessclimateanditwasnotthewageswe'repayingpeopletoday.
It
wasthatwecan'taffordtohaveaworkstoppageeverythreeyears.
Wecan'taffordtocontinuetherateofescalation
0/
wagesaswehaveinthepast.Youknow,thosearetheoverriding/actors.AndmybiaswastostayherebutwecouldnotgetthosetwoissuesdonedespitethebesteffortsoftheUnionandthebesteffortsofthecompany.
Theitalicizedsentences-whichweredeliberatelyomittedfromyouroffice'spresentationofthisquotationonitswebsite-makeclearthatMr.Albaughwasreferencingtwo,ratherthanone,"overridingfactors,"onlyoneofwhichistheriskofafuturestrike.Thesearecriticalomissionsthatdirectlycontradictyourapparenttheoryofthiscase.
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