Acting General Counsel carries out threat to file complaint against Arizona over secret ballot amendment, takes criticism for Boeing complaint

The NLRB has announced that Lafe Solomon, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel, has submitted for filing a complaint in U.S. District Court in Phoenix asking that court to declare that a recently passed constitutional amendment is preempted by the NLRA.

Arizona voters passed a constitutional amendment on November 2, 2010, prohibiting employers from engaging in voluntary recognition of unions, leaving only secret ballot elections as the means for representation elections. The NLRA allows for voluntary recognition and, in January of this year, Solomon advised the Arizona Attorney General, along with the Attorneys General of three other states, that their amendments conflicted with the NLRA and that the Board had authorized him to litigate the matter. Last month, Solomon informed the Attorneys General of Arizona and South Dakota that he would, indeed, initiate litigation; the NLRB states that litigation will soon be filed over the South Dakota amendment.

Solomon has come under fierce fire for the prospective litigation from conservative critics.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Education and Workforce has demanded an explanation for it’s unfair labor practices complaint against the Boeing Comoany. Representative John Kline, Chairman of the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has issued a letter to the Acting General Counsel demanding that he explain the decision. Calling the complaint, “deeply troubling,” Kline asserted that the facts of the case are in dispute and drew attention to what he called “apparent inconsistencies” in the decision to issue the complaint.

The crux of the complaint is that Boeing decided to place a second production line in a non-union facility in South Carolina after the union representing workers at its Everett, Washington facility struck. According to Kline, when asked about the charge in June, 2010, NLRB Regional Director Richard Ahearn said that the case would be easier for the union if Boeing had decided to transfer operations, rather than putting new work in South Carolina. Kline also asserts that Ahearn, at that time, said that an initial ruling was weeks away. Kline notes that, when the ruling did come, some ten months later, it went against Boeing. Kline, contending that the complaint could have a “chilling effect upon businesses across the country,” is demanding that Solomon tell him what changed the apparent course of the case and provide him with all relevant documents between the National Office and the Regional Office. Kline has also asked for evidence that the work was transferred and for precedent supporting the issuance of a complaint.

Also, according to published reports, the Boeing Company has asked the NLRB to withdraw its complaint against the manufacturer, saying that the Board misquoted statements by company. According to reports, Boeing claims that the new line did not move or transfer any work from Washington State.

Source: CCH Editorial Staff.