While hyping a GOP-led attack on the National Labor Relations Board, Fox News continued its pattern of misleading viewers about the NLRB's actions regarding Boeing's facility in South Carolina.
Reporting on the December 13 edition of America's Newsroom about a newly released report from the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee, which criticized the NLRB as engaging in “militant advocacy for unions,” Fox correspondent Doug McKelway claimed that the NLRB tried to “shut down” the Boeing plant:
McKELWAY: The best example of all this may be the NLRB's attempt to shut down Boeing's new assembly line in right-to-work South Carolina. Boeing spent billions, employed thousands of highly paid nonunion workers, while at the same time expanding operations at its unionized Washington state plant. Unionized employment actually increased in Washington state, yet the NLRB tried to have the South Carolina plant shut down.
In fact, the NLRB has a history of pursuing cases similar to the action it took against Boeing. The NLRB accused Boeing of moving a production line for the 787 Dreamliner from Washington state to South Carolina because Washington state employees “engag[ed] in ... lawful strikes” and Boeing wanted to discourage such activity in the future -- the type of action the NLRB has long pursued.
Contrary to McKelway's assertion that the NLRB “tried to have the South Carolina plant shut down,” there were remedies available to Boeing that didn't involve shutting down the plant. According to NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland, the focus was only on the 787 Dreamliner production. Cleeland pointed out that Boeing could move the production of three 787 airplanes a month to Washington and build a different product in the South Carolina plant:
NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said Boeing could simply agree to build 10 Boeing 787s a month in its Everett factory. Boeing had planned to build seven a month in Everett and three a month in North Charleston, S.C.
“We are not telling Boeing they can't build planes in South Carolina,” Cleeland clarified, in an interview. “We are talking about one specific piece of work: three planes a month. If they keep those three planes a month in Washington, there is no problem.” Beyond the ten planes, she said, Boeing could build whatever it wants in South Carolina.
Further, NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon said that South Carolina's status as a right-to-work state was irrelevant to the action against Boeing: “This case has nothing to do legally with South Carolina. It has nothing to do with the fact that South Carolina is a right-to-work state. It would have been the same issue if (Boeing) had moved to Spokane, Wash.”
The NLRB ultimately dropped its complaint against Boeing after the company negotiated a new union contract.