Fox News' Juliet Huddy falsely claimed that the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) complaint against Boeing is the result of planned Boeing jobs in South Carolina being "nonunion" and that the NLRB's action is "unprecedented." Huddy is the latest Fox figure to mangle the facts about the NLRB's complaint against Boeing.
Huddy Claims "NLRB Is Suing [Boeing] Because The Jobs Are Nonunion," Complaint Is "Unprecedented"
Huddy: "The NLRB Is Suing Because The Jobs Are Nonunion," And NLRB's Action Is "Unprecedented." On the September 2 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host Juliet Huddy claimed that the NLRB's complaint against Boeing is the result of planned Boeing jobs in South Carolina being "nonunion." Huddy also stated that NLRB's complaint against Boeing is "unprecedented." From the broadcast:
HUDDY: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has some strong words for President Obama. She calls him, quote, "cowardly" for not speaking about the union fight to stop Boeing from opening its new plant in South Carolina. Haley also called on the president to address the National Labor Relations Board's unprecedented lawsuit in his upcoming jobs speech. The NLRB is suing because the jobs are nonunion. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/2/11]
In Fact, NLRB's Complaint Alleges Boeing Moved Work to SC Because Unionized Workers Engaged In Lawful Strikes
Complaint Alleges Boeing CEO Said He Was "Moving The 787 Dreamliner Work To South Carolina Due To 'Strikes Happening Every Three To Four Years' " In Washington State. From the complaint against Boeing filed by the NLRB general counsel's office:
[Boeing president, chairman, and CEO Jim McNerney] made an extended statement regarding "diversifying [Respondent's] labor pool and labor relationship," and moving the 787 Dreamliner work to South Carolina due to "strikes happening every three to four years in Puget Sound." [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Complaint Alleges Boeing Decided To Transfer 787 Production To SC Because Washington State Employees "Engag[ed] In ... Lawful Strikes" And To "Discourage" Such Activity In The Future. From paragraph 7 of the complaint:
(a) In or about October 2009, on a date better known to Respondent, but no later than October 28, 2009, Respondent decided to transfer its second 787 Dreamliner production line of 3 planes per month from the Unit to its non-union site in North Charleston, South Carolina.
(b) Respondent engaged in the conduct described above in paragraph 7(a) because the Unit employees assisted and/or supported the Union by, inter alia, engaging in the protected, concerted activity of lawful strikes and to discourage these and/or other employees from engaging in these or other union and/or protected, concerted activities.
(c) Respondent's conduct described above in paragraph 7(a), combined with the conduct described above in Paragraph 6, is also inherently destructive of the rights guaranteed employees by § 7 of the Act. [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
Complaint Specifically Says Boeing Is Free To Make "Non-Discriminatory Decisions" About "Where Work Will Be Performed." The complaint asks that the 787 production line that was moved to South Carolina allegedly for the illegal purposes of punishing Washington state workers for going on strike be moved back to Washington state. However, the complaint adds that it "does not seek to prohibit [Boeing]" from having work performed in South Carolina or anywhere else as long as Boeing does not violate labor laws in making such decisions. From paragraph 13 of the complaint:
(a) As part of the remedy for the unfair labor practices alleged above in paragraphs 7 and 8, the Acting General Counsel seeks an Order requiring Respondent to have the Unit operate its second line of 787 Dreamliner aircraft assembly production in the State of Washington, utilizing supply lines maintained by the Unit in the Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, area facilities.
(b) Other than as set forth in paragraph 13(a) above, the relief requested by the Acting General Counsel does not seek to prohibit Respondent from making non-discriminatory decisions with respect to where work will be performed, including non-discriminatory decisions with respect to work at its North Charleston, South Carolina, facility. [The Boeing Company NLRB general counsel's office complaint, 4/20/11]
NLRB Acting General Counsel: There's "Nothing ... Unprecedented" About Boeing Complaint
NLRB Acting General Counsel: "There Is Nothing Remarkable Or Unprecedented" About The Boeing Complaint. Contrary to Huddy's claim that the NLRB's complaint against Boeing is "unprecedented," NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon said in a May 9 statement:
Contrary to certain public statements made in recent weeks, there is nothing remarkable or unprecedented about the complaint issued against the Boeing Company on April 20. The complaint involves matters of fact and law that are not unique to this case, and it was issued only after a thorough investigation in the field, a further careful review by our attorneys in Washington, and an invitation by me to the parties to present their case and discuss the possibility of a settlement. Only then did I authorize the complaint alleging that certain statements and decisions by Boeing officials were discriminatory under our statute. [NLRB.gov, 5/9/11]
And Experts Say If True, Allegations In NLRB Complaint Represent "Classic" Case of Labor Law Violations
Labor Law Professor Brudney: "Relocating Work Away From A Plant Because Of Too Much Lawful Union Activity Would Be A Classic Violation" Of Federal Labor Laws. In a telephone interview with Media Matters, James J. Brudney, the Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, said: "Relocating work away from a plant because of too much lawful union activity would be a classic violation of 8(a)(3)" of the National Labor Relations Act, which makes it illegal for employers "to discriminat[e] in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization." [Phone interview with Media Matters, 5/11/11]
Labor And Employment Law Professor Fisk: If NLRB General Counsel's Complaint Is True, This Is An "Absolutely Standard Violation" Of Federal Labor Laws. In a telephone interview with Media Matters, Catherine Fisk, University of California-Irvine Chancellor's professor of law, said that if the NLRB general counsel's complaint is true, this is an "absolutely standard violation of Section 8(a)(1) [of the National Labor Relations Act], which has been in the statute since 1935 and prohibits retaliation against employees for protected activities" such as forming a union, engaging in collective bargaining, and striking. Fisk also said that she saw "nothing controversial" about the complaint. [Phone interview with Media Matters, 5/11/11]
To read more from labor experts on the NLRB's complaint against Boeing, SEE HERE.
Moreover, Boeing Case Is Part Of "A Very Long Line Of Cases ... NLRB Has Been Pressing Since The 1940s"
Fisk: Complaint Against Boeing Is Part Of "A Very Long Line Of Cases That The NLRB Has Been Pressing Since The 1940s." Fisk also said that the complaint against Boeing is part of "a very long line of cases that the NLRB has been pressing since the 1940s, when employers began moving work from unionized workplaces in the industrial Northeast to non-unionized workplaces in the Southeast and later the Southwest." [Phone interview with Media Matters, 5/11/11]
For more on past cases similar to the NLRB's case against Boeing, SEE HERE.
Fox Has Repeatedly Misrepresented NLRB's Complaint Against Boeing
Wallace: NLRB "Went After Boeing For Wanting to Build A Plant In Right-To-Work South Carolina." On the August 31 broadcast of Fox News' Special Report, guest host Chris Wallace claimed that the NLRB, "went after Boeing for wanting to build a plant in right-to-work South Carolina." From the broadcast:
CHRIS WALLACE (guest host): Rich Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, announcing Big Labor's new plan to push its candidates and causes in the 2012 election.
We're back now with our panel. So, Mara [Liasson], the Obama administration has taken a really strong pro-union tilt in recent weeks and months. The National Labor Relations Board, with its Democratic Obama-appointed majority, went after Boeing for wanting to build a plant in right-to-work South Carolina. Now the NLRB says employers must post notices of workers' rights in all workplaces -- their rights to organize -- even though there hasn't been any case. They're really deciding it on their own. [Fox News, Special Report, 8/31/11, via Media Matters]
For more on Wallace's claim, SEE HERE.
Kilmeade: "It Seems Anti-American To Think [Boeing] Can't" Open A Plant In South Carolina "For Whatever Reason." On the June 21 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade interviewed Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) about the NLRB's case against Boeing. After airing video of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) saying that "Boeing is not above the law" and should not receive "preferred treatment," Kilmeade said: "Above the law? If Boeing wants to expand and go to South Carolina for whatever reason, it doesn't -- it seems anti-American to think they can't." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/21/11, via Media Matters]
Doocy: "Big Labor Taking On Boeing, Suing To Keep The Company From Moving To Another State Where They Don't Have To Use Union Workers." On the June 20 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy teased a later segment, claiming, "Big labor [is] taking on Boeing, suing to keep the company from moving to another state where they don't have to use union workers." From the broadcast:
DOOCY: Meanwhile, Big Labor taking on Boeing, suing to keep the company from moving to another state where they don't have to use union workers. But some union people say the lawsuit is bad for the country. We're going to talk to one next." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/20/11, via Media Matters]
For more on Doocy's claims, SEE HERE.
Napolitano On NLRB's Complaint: "Does This Mean The President Has An Enemies List? And That Boeing Is On It?" On the May 12 broadcast of Fox Business' Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano asked if the NLRB complaint against Boeing "means the president has an enemies list? And that Boeing is on it?" From the broadcast:
NAPOLITANO: Tonight on the docket, all the president's enemies. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board sanctioned the giant Boeing Corporation for building a new factory in South Carolina. Wait a minute, I thought creating jobs was a good thing? Well the NLRB is mad at Boeing because South Carolina is a right-to-work state. That means that new Boeing employees of that plant cannot be forced to join a labor union. If this factory were to be built in Washington state, near Boeing's other plants, all the employees would be required, by Washington state law, to be part of a labor union, whether they wanted to be in one or not.
Remember, labor unions are a big reason why Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in 2008. This sounds a lot like political payback to those unions for all that support. And does this mean the president has an enemies list? And that Boeing is on it for defying the president's pro-union agenda? [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/12/11, via Media Matters]
Asman On NLRB Complaint: "We Used To Laugh At This Kind Of Soviet Economic Planning When We Saw It Happen Elsewhere. But Now The NLRB Wants To Force-Feed It To Us Right Here." From the June 20 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
DAVID ASMAN (host): When private lawyers start making management decision for private companies, we are in deep trouble. And that is just what the NLRB is trying to do with Boeing. NLRB general counsel wants a court order requiring Boeing to close shop in South Carolina and build a new factory in the state of Washington. They then want to force Boeing to build 787s at the Washington facility - exact number of which to be determined not by Boeing, but by the lawyers at the NLRB. Now we used to laugh at this kind of Soviet economic planning when we saw it happen elsewhere. But now the NLRB wants to force-feed it to us right here, right in the midst of a dangerously weak economy. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 6/20/11, via Media Matters]