NLRB Withdraws Boeing Complaint – Dreamliner to be built in Right to work South Carolina

The National Labor Relations Board dropped a high-profile complaint against Boeing Co., a move that was expected after the aerospace company’s 31,000-member machinists union approved a sweeping contract extension earlier this week.

The NLRB said Friday that it withdrew the April complaint, which charged the aerospace company with illegally retaliating against the union for previous strikes by opening an aircraft-production line at a non-union plant in South Carolina.

The agency had filed the complaint on behalf of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers after siding with the union’s allegations. Boeing contested the charges, saying it had made a business decision and didn’t retaliate against the union. The case drew heavy criticism from the business community and some Republican lawmakers, who said the NLRB should not be interfering with companies’ choices about where to open factories.

Chicago-based Boeing and the union took a huge step toward ending the NLRB dispute last week, when they reached a tentative, far-reaching agreement that included a pledge by Boeing to build a retooled version of its popular 737 jet at a union plant in Renton, Wash., near Seattle.

The machinists—most of whom work at Boeing’s major commercial-airliner factories in the Seattle area—had feared that the jet maker might decide to produce the planned single-aisle jet, known as the 737 Max, in South Carolina or another Southern state where unions are weak.

Boeing opened the North Charleston, S.C., production line that was the source of the NLRB complaint earlier this year. Nonunion employees at that facility are assembling some of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner jets.

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