Arguably one of the United States Supreme Court’s most significant decisions for employers in years was handed down recently, when the high court made it substantially more difficult for employees to sue their employer on a class basis.
If the NLRB should prevail in its suit against Boeing, more than an employer’s right to speak the truth plainly may be in jeopardy. It is conceivable that an employer’s right to make fundamental decisions, such as where to locate operations, will be curtailed by this Board. Throughout the complaint, the NLRB’s acting general counsel has requested an order requiring Boeing to operate its second line production of the 787 Dreamliner “in the State of Washington, utilizing supply lines maintained by the [union] in the Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, area facilities.”
Though many employers find the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) to be overly protective of employees, to its credit, the NLRB has fulfilled its mission of enforcing the National Labor Relations Act in such a way as to maintain a reasonable balance over the past several decades. A cornerstone concept which made that balance possible is that employers, union representatives, and employees are, with very few exceptions, free to make factual statements without fear of facing charges before the NLRB. That cornerstone concept is now being threatened.