Boeing Cuts Deal with Union; NLRB Drops Complaint

WASHINGTON (AP) – The National Labor Relations Board on Friday dropped its high-profile challenge of Boeing’s decision to open a nonunion aircraft manufacturing plant in South Carolina.

The board acted after the Machinists union approved a four-year contract extension with Boeing this week and agreed to withdraw its charge that the company violated federal labor laws.

Lafe Solomon, the board’s acting general counsel, said he had always preferred a settlement. The agency settles about 90 percent of its cases.

Under the deal, Boeing promised to build the new version of its 737 airplane inWashington state. The Machinists agreed to drop allegations that Boeingopened the South Carolina plant in retaliation for past union strikes.

Both Solomon and the agency had come under intense criticism from Republican lawmakers and South Carolina officials for bringing the case. Republicans and business groups claimed the board was setting a dangerous precedent by interfering with a legitimate business decision about where to locate workers.

Solomon said he was simply following the law and might do it again if faced with similar facts.

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