Judicial Watch sues NLRB for Boeing lawsuit documents

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Government watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Tuesday it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to obtain records dealing with the board’s lawsuit against Boeing for opening a non-union plant in South Carolina.

Judicial Watch filed its initial FOIA request for internal communications between officials, officers, employees of the NLRB as well as communications between the NLRB and the White House, the Internal Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the AFL-CIO, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) related to Boeing on July 14, 2010.

While the NLRB acknowledged receipt of the Judicial Watch request, the NLRB failed to comply within the statutory allotted twenty business days and has yet to indicate when it will release the documents.

Judicial Watch’s lawsuit comes as a response to the NLRB’s lawsuit against Boeing for opening a $750 million non-union assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C., to manufacture the Dreamliner plane. The NLRB’s suit claimed that Boeing’s decision to open the plant was retaliation against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for the union’s 2008 strikes in the state of Washington.

This is not the first time the NLRB has failed to respond to such requests. In August the Board failed to fully comply with information requests from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“This refusal by NLRB to abide by the law further heightens concerns that this is a rogue agency acting improperly,” committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa wrote in a statement. “The integrity of NLRB and its leadership is clearly in question. The public has a right to know the truth about why a government agency would choose to take action to benefit organized labor that threatens thousands of non-union jobs in South Carolina while setting a precedent impacting manufacturers across the country.”

Judicial Watch has thus turned to the courts to suss out the information.

“There is simply no good reason for the NLRB to keep these records secret — unless it has something to hide,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “ Yet again we see that President Obama, through his appointees, is contemptuous of an open and accountable federal government.”

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