Boeing Flap Raises Questions of Corporate Self-Determination

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint against The Boeing Company alleging retaliation against Washington State employees for their involvement in lawful economic strikes.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner may turn into a nightmare for the company. Boeing manufactures the Dreamliner at its unionized plant in Washington State, as well as at a non-union plant in South Carolina. The NLRB alleges that Boeing built the plant in South Carolina—where unions are weak—to retaliate against workers in Washington State for their past strikes. In support of its allegations, the NLRB cited public comments by Boeing executives.
What would normally be a relatively quiet matter with the NLRB has become a public circus. In an attempt to avoid choosing sides, President Obama urged settlement: “[W]e can’t afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, at a time when we’re competing against Germany and China and other countries that want to sell goods all around the world. And obviously, the airplane industry is an area where we still have a huge advantage. I want to make sure that we keep it.”