Obama's NLRB tried to punish Boeing for building a plant in South Carolina, a “right-to-work” state
Obama's NLRB accused Boeing of illegally retaliating against unions for striking
In 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Boeing after it opened a new factory in South Carolina rather than Washington state. The NLRB’s acting general counsel at the time, Lafe Solomon, did so because he alleged that Boeing had opened the South Carolina factory in an act of illegal retaliation for strikes conducted by a machinists’ union in Washington -- not because South Carolina has anti-union right-to-work laws. The New York Times reported:
In the Boeing case, Mr. Solomon asserted that Boeing’s decision to build its $750 million Dreamliner factory in South Carolina constituted illegal retaliation against the machinists’ members in Washington for having exercised their federally protected right to strike. He cited public statements by Boeing officials about the machinists’ militancy in Washington State as one piece of evidence in the case, although Boeing officials said that lower costs were their major reason for choosing South Carolina.
Although the NLRB dropped the case later in 2011 when Boeing and the union agreed on a new contract, Solomon told The New York Times that concerns about retaliation for strikes were still legitimate:
Mr. Solomon said critics had misconstrued the board’s intentions. “This case was never about the union or the N.L.R.B. telling Boeing where it could put its plants,” he said. “This was a question for us of retaliation, and that remains the law.”
He said that if the labor board were ever faced with a similar situation, “we might well issue a complaint.”