New wrinkle to Boeing-NLRB labor standoff

Judge calls for celerity as NLRB member terms set to expire

A week after House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ratcheted up the drama yet again on Boeing Co.’s ongoing strife with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a judge issued a plea to both sides to push the process along.

Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson told lawyers yesterday that because one of the NLRB member’s terms is set to expire Aug. 27, and a second member’s term ends in December, that the vacancies will have significant consequences on the trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that a two-member board cannot issue rulings, so if either side makes a special appeal on the judge’s intermediate rulings, there would be a stalemate. The 5-member NLRB already is one member short, so if the case drags on into December, the likelihood of an impasse increases dramatically.

 “I would very much like, from my greedy perspective, to move along,” Judge Anderson told lawyers yesterday, Bloomberg reports.

Last week, Congressman Issa turned up the heat on the NLRB and its Acting General Counsel, Lafe Solomon, by issuing a subpoena for documents related to Boeing’s alleged union circumvention. The subpoena compelled the NLRB to comply with earlier committee document requests that it submitted in May.

"NLRB's action in the case against Boeing has the potential to create a job-killing precedent just as U.S. manufacturers are working toward economic recovery,” Issa said in a statement. “That a Washington, D.C.-based bureaucracy could dictate the work location and parameters for a world-leading company is unprecedented in a global economy and hobbles a leading American job creator at a time of economic vulnerability.”

In July, a federal judge denied Boeing’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. InsideCounsel covered the story, as well as the seemingly pro-union NLRB, in-depth in its August issue.

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