After months of contention that drew the attention of presidential candidates and members of Congress, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today announced that theÂ MachinistsÂ (IAM)Â District 751 dropped its charge against the Boeing Co. after negotiating agreeable terms with the company.
Lafe Solomon, the NLRBâ€™s acting general counsel, announced the closing of the case after Machinists in Washington State voted to accept a four-year contract extension and commitments from Boeing toÂ expand manufacturing operations in the state.
Earlier this year, the NLRB agreed to hear the unionâ€™s complaint that claimed Boeingâ€™s decision to produce its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft in South Carolina, an anti-union state, was made in retaliation for the unionâ€™s 2008 strike against Boeing. A Republican NLRBÂ threatened to quit the boardâ€”which would have prevented the case from going forwardâ€”and Republican presidential candidates made the labor board a campaign-trailÂ target.
District 751 also won raises described as â€śsubstantialâ€ť for its members, as well as job security measuresÂ deemed â€śunusualâ€ť by the New York Times.
From theÂ statement issued today by the NLRBâ€™s Solomon:
This is the outcome we have always preferred, and one that is typical for our agency. About 90% of meritorious NLRB cases are resolved as a result of agreements between the parties or settlements with the agency before the conclusion of litigation.
One of the stated goals of the National Labor Relations Act is to foster collective bargaining and productive labor-management relations. From the beginning of this case, and at every step in the process, we have encouraged the parties to find a mutually-acceptable resolution that protects the rights of workers under federal labor law.Â The partiesâ€™ collective bargaining agreement, ratified this week, does just thatâ€¦I am pleased that the collective bargaining process has succeeded and that the parties have begun a promising new chapter in their relationship.
IAM members ratified the new contractÂ 74 percent.
This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO Now Blog on December 9, 2011. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Adele Stan isÂ a journalist and lifelong member of the labor movement, reports on a timely forum on inequality and jobs at Georgetown University today.