Boeing lawyer tells Senate committee NLRB suit could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs

If it succeeds, a suit by the National Labor Relations Board seeking to block Boeing from building airplanes in a non-union facility in South Carolina will set a precedent that could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide, the company's vice president and general counsel Michael Lutting said at a Senate hearing on Thursday.

Most directly, if Boeing is forced to shut down its new factory, it would kill thousands of jobs in South Carolina. But it would also have wider-ranging effects, Luttig argued in testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Applied across the economy, Luttig said, it means that many companies that have production lines in unionized states won't be able to build additional facilities in right-to-work states. And on the flip side, companies won't want to open new factories in unionized states, because they'll be worried that they'll be limited in where they can expand in the future. Still other companies, Luttig said, would locate overseas.

The NLRB complaint calls for moving the new production line to the unionized Washington state, which Luttig described as a “breathtaking substitution of the board for management in the running of American company.”

He also dismissed the NLRB's charge that the factory was built to retaliate against the union.

“No company commits billions of dollars of capital to build a production facility out of spite,” Luttig said.

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