Boeing, union reach tentative deal

By Matt Tomsic
mtomsic@scbiznews.com
Published Nov. 30, 2011

The National Labor Relations Board complaint against the Boeing Co. has not yet been settled despite a tentative labor agreement reached by Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Bryan Corliss, a spokesman for the Machinists union District 751, said he couldn’t discuss much about the NLRB case against Boeing. But the new labor agreement, if ratified, could impact the labor relations board complaint.

“If our members ratify this agreement, we intend to inform the NLRB that we consider our issues with Boeing to have been resolved,” Corliss said. “It will be up to the NLRB to decide (to) go forward from there. It’s their case.”

Nancy Cleeland, a spokeswoman for the NLRB, said the board has not withdrawn its complaint against Boeing.

“The tentative agreement announced today between Boeing and the Machinists union is a very significant and hopeful development,” said Lafe Solomon, acting general counsel for the NLRB. “The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by the employees, and, if ratified, we will be in discussions with the parties about the next steps in the process.”

The NLRB filed its complaint in April, arguing the aerospace giant’s decision to open a 787 Dreamliner final assembly and delivery plant in North Charleston was retaliation against the Machinists union for past strikes. The case proceeded to an administrative law court in June, and the hearing is ongoing.

Candy Eslinger, a spokeswoman for Boeing, said the company believes the complaint is without merit but referred questions about the case to the NLRB and Machinists union.

“While we see the tentative agreement to extend the contract as the starting point of a new relationship with the IAM, the complaint filed by the acting general counsel can only be withdrawn at this stage by the NLRB itself,” she said in an email.

The tentative agreement would bring work for the Boeing’s new 737 MAX to Puget Sound. Corliss said the extension gives job security and includes new incentives and an improved pension.

The union will vote Dec. 7 on the contract.

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