Issa expands investigation of labor board

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is expanding his investigation of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

In a letter sent Wednesday to Lafe Solomon, the NLRB's acting general counsel, Issa said he still expects the labor board to comply with his request for documents regarding his investigation of the NLRB's complaint against Boeing, which was withdrawn last week.

In addition, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman said he is expanding his probe to cover the labor board's involvement in negotiations between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists (IAM), which led to a four-year contract extension. The NLRB dropped its complaint after the contract was announced.

Issa called the new contract "a victory" for Boeing, the union and its workers, but said that does not close the book on the controversy surrounding the original complaint.

"I welcome these actions; however, they do not erase the controversial nature of the complaint," Issa writes.

The California lawmaker says he wants to know what role the NLRB played in the contract negotiations.

"To ensure that filing the complaint was not a strategic maneuver to provide IAM with leverage for a new collective bargaining agreement with Boeing, the Committee also seeks information about the NLRB's involvement in those negotiations," Issa writes. 

To comply with the panel's subpoena, Issa says the labor board should turn over documents to the committee by Jan. 3.

The NLRB has come under heavy scrutiny this year from Republican lawmakers for a number of its actions, including the Boeing complaint and a proposal to speed up union elections.

Boeing started a new production line for its 787 Dreamliner jet in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, after its executives expressed worries about work stoppages at its unionized facilities in the state of Washington. The NLRB alleged that was retaliation against union workers and it filed its complaint against Boeing in April. 

The labor board dropped its complaint against Boeing last Friday though after the Machinists said they no longer had any legal issue with the company. That came after the union ratified a new agreement with Boeing that included building the new 737 MAX jet at union facilities in Renton, Wash., and elsewhere. 

GOP lawmakers have pledged to keep pressure on the NLRB. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a top critic of the board, has said he still plans to hold up NLRB nominations in the Senate.

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