Labor board drops complaint against Boeing

WASHINGTON -- The National Labor Relations Board dropped its much-disparaged action against Boeing Co. on Friday, a move praised by Republicans as overdue but one that deprives the GOP of one of its most reliable talking points in its criticism of the Obama administration.

The NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing in March accusing the aerospace company of establishing a nonunion production line in South Carolina in retaliation against union workers in Washington for past strikes.

The machinists union entered into a new four-year contract extension with Boeing earlier this week and, as part of the deal, agreed to withdraw its unfair labor practices charge against the company.

That led the NLRB to drop the case.

"I am very happy to announce that my office has approved the withdrawal of a charge by the machinists union against the Boeing Co., which brings our case in this matter to an end," NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon said in a statement.

The NLRB's complaint against Boeing drew a steady stream of complaints from GOP presidential candidates and South Carolina business leaders, who accused the Obama administration of being anti-business and argued that the NLRB would cost the state jobs.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday that the president played no role in convincing the labor board to abandon the case.

"The NLRB is an independent board. And as he has said previously, the president thinks labor and management should find ways to work together to preserve and create jobs. ... He is glad they have reached a resolution here," Carney said. "But this was not something the president was involved in."

Asked about the case while walking outside the White House on Friday, the president said he was "glad people are gonna be working."

Mitt Romney in a statement said he welcomed the decision but accused the Obama administration of allowing unions to set labor policy.