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Boeing Union Presses Plant Relocation Issue

by News on September 26, 2011

in Federal Legislation, State and Local, Union Politics and Transparency

By David Kesmodel and Melanie Trottman/The Wall Street Journal

The machinists union released internal Boeing Co. documents that it says bolster the National Labor Relations Board’s high-profile case accusing the aerospace giant of illegally shifting union work in Washington state to a nonunion factory in South Carolina.

The union said Friday the documents, obtained by the NLRB under a subpoena in the legal battle, demonstrate that Boeing decided to open a second assembly line for its 787 Dreamliner jet in North Charleston, S.C., to avoid labor problems, even though Boeing officials considered the location its highest-risk option.

The documents, which were presented to Boeing’s board in 2009, say Boeing officials thought the South Carolina plan, known internally as “Project Gemini,” would help with “rebalancing an unbalanced and uncompetitive labor relationship.” Boeing officials, however, said the site was the one most likely to fail and that startup costs for the new plant would significantly exceed the costs of adding capacity at the company’s Everett, Wash., factory.

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