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Labor Board Plans to Sue 2 States Over Union Rules (Read More…)

April 25, 2011
By Steven Greenhouse
The National Labor Relations Board has told state officials that it will soon file federal lawsuits against Arizona and South Dakota in seeking to invalidate those states’ constitutional amendments that prohibit private sector employees from choosing to unionize through a procedure known as card check.

In a letter sent on Friday, the labor board told those states that it would invoke the United States Constitution’s supremacy clause in asserting that the state constitutional amendments conflict with federal laws and are pre-empted by those laws. One federal official said the lawsuits would be filed in the next few days.

The Arizona and South Dakota constitutional amendments were promoted by various conservative groups worried that Congressional Democrats would pass legislation allowing unions to insist on using card check in organizing drives, meaning that an employer would have to recognize a union as soon as a majority of workers signed pro-union cards. Under current law, private sector employers can insist that secret ballots be used when unions are trying to organize.

Unions like using card check because it makes it easier to win unionization campaigns. Organizers can gather signature cards quietly until they get a majority of workers, making it more difficult for an employer to mount an opposition campaign. Congressional Republicans blocked passage of the card-check bill.

In January, the labor board threatened to sue four states, including South Carolina and Utah, which also have constitutional amendments barring card check. But in a letter sent on Friday to the four states’ attorneys generals, N.L.R.B. officials said they were suing just two states to conserve legal resources.

The labor board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said the government reserved “the right to initiate a suit against the other two states at the appropriate time.”

N.L.R.B. officials evidently hope that victories in the Arizona and South Dakota cases would serve as precedents to invalidate the South Carolina and Utah prohibitions.

Boeing-NLRB dispute could be long, costly fight (Read More…)

April 22, 2011
By John P. McDermott

The union-busting lawsuit targeting Boeing and its new South Carolina aircraft plant is likely to spur a protracted and costly legal battle that could wind its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But it’s not expected to immediately affect the opening this summer of the $750 million assembly line in North Charleston.

The dispute between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board is shaping up to be one of the biggest union fights that fervently anti-union South Carolina has seen in recent years.

The federal agency’s acting general counsel sued the company Wednesday, saying Boeing set up its 787 Dreamliner production plant in North Charleston partly to retaliate against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for past strikes in Washington state.

The complaint seeks a court order forcing Boeing to establish the second 787 line in Everett, Wash., the unionized home of the company’s commercial airplane business.

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