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Fight Over Boeing's S.C. Factory Erupts Onto National Stage

Publication Date: 
September 12, 2011
Source: 
The Fresno Bee
Author: 
James Rosen

Professor William Gould spoke with The Fresno Bee's James Rosen to discuss the current battle between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board, and explain why he believes Lafe Solomon, the NLRB acting general counsel, has a "weak case" in this dispute.

What began as an administrative complaint over the opening of a factory in South Carolina has grown into an all-out political brawl over union bosses and the future of U.S. capitalism.

When an administrative law judge takes up the National Labor Relations Board's case against Boeing in Seattle on Tuesday, he will incite Republicans who accuse President Barack Obama of thwarting job growth to appease union cronies and advance his big-government policies.

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Stanford University law professor William Gould, who chaired the NLRB in the 1990s under Democratic President Bill Clinton, said Solomon's case is weak.

While the National Labor Relations Act created the NLRB in 1935 and charged it with protecting workers' collective-bargaining rights, Gould said, the law allows firms to consider past strikes and production disruptions in deciding where to locate their plants.

"I don't find merit in the general counsel's position (on Boeing)," Gould said in an interview. "It's perfectly appropriate under our federal labor law for an employer to make managerial decisions based upon its ability to meet production deadlines. And part of that consideration is going to be related to strikes."