* CEO attacks NLRB complaint in op-ed piece
* CEO says NLRB has overreached its authority
CHICAGO May 11 Boeing Co (BA.N) denied
allegations by a federal labor board that the plane-maker
picked South Carolina as the site of the second line of 787
Dreamliner production to punish its unionized workforce.
Chief Executive Jim McNerney said in an opinion piece
published in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the
National Labor Relations Board was "wrong and has far
overreached its authority."
McNerney's defense came ahead of a June hearing on the NLRB
complaint, originally lodged by the International Association
of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, which represents
workers on the first 787 line in Everett, Washington.
"The NLRB is wrong and has far overreached its authority,"
McNerney wrote. "Its action is a fundamental assault on the
capitalist principles that have sustained America's
competitiveness since it became the world's largest economy
nearly 140 years ago."
The NLRB complaint says Boeing engaged in unfair labor
practices against the IAM union to discourage strikes.
Boeing has said it will fight the complaint, which seeks an
order requiring Boeing to operate the second 787 line in
Washington state, where union workers build the company's
Boeing opened a second, nonunion production line for its
787 Dreamliner in South Carolina after an aggressive campaign
by workers in Washington's Puget Sound area to keep the project
"Contrary to the NLRB's claim, our decision to expand in
South Carolina resulted from an objective analysis of the same
factors we use in every site selection," McNerney wrote. No
existing work is being sent to South Carolina and hiring in
Washington continues, he said.
The IAM did not immediately comment on McNerney's
statements. The union said in April that by opening the line in
South Carolina, Boeing was trying to intimidate union members
with the notion that work could be taken away.
The 2009 decision to open the 787 line in Charleston, South
Carolina, came after it was "made clear to workers there that
the only way they could ensure their future work on the 787
would be if they left the Machinists Union, forcing them to
sacrifice their collective bargaining rights to have a chance
at more jobs," the IAM said.
The light-weight, carbon-composite Dreamliner is about
three years behind its original schedule because of problems
with the extensive global supply chain.
In 2008, Boeing endured a 58-day strike over a contract
dispute. Boeing blames that strike for one of the 787 delays.
(Reporting by Kyle Peterson; editing by John Wallace)