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Senator Threatened Labor Board Before Boeing Complaint

Publication Date: 
November 09, 2011
The Hill
Kevin Bogardus

Professor Bill Gould spoke with The Hill's Kevin Bogardus about the recent threatening phone call the NLRB received from Sen. Lindsey Graham and the type of hostility he dealt with while serving as chairman of the NLRB.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and threatened to go after the agency “full guns a-blazing” if they filed a complaint against Boeing, according to documents obtained by The Hill.

Days before the NLRB issued the April 20 complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against union workers, there were at least two phone calls between Graham and Lafe Solomon, the NLRB’s acting general counsel, during which the senator tried to talk the agency out of filing the complaint.


“We got lots of threats and statements of hostility after cases materialized,” said Bill Gould, who served as chairman of the labor board during the Clinton administration. “I certainly didn't get any calls like that.”

Gould, now a Stanford University law school professor, compared Graham’s calls to “picking up the phone and calling the prosecutor” to sway a case in a certain direction.