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Boeing vows to fight unfair U.S. labor practices ruling

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young
The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young

By Alwyn Scott

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co vowed on Friday to contest a ruling that found the plane maker committed unfair labor practices against its unionized engineers near Seattle and in Portland, Oregon, when it photographed and videotaped workplace marches in 2012.

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said on Thursday that Boeing's videotaping of union marches, and its restrictions on personal photography by employees, violated labor law.

On Friday, Boeing said it did not think there was a legal basis for the decision and vowed to overturn it.

"The decision represents an unjustified and unprecedented intrusion into our right to protect the security of our facilities and proprietary information," Boeing labor spokesman Tim Healy said in a statement.

"The law does not require employers to permit unregulated photography within the workplace, or to ignore the disruption and safety concerns created by in-plant marches, and we intend to take all necessary steps to ensure that this decision is overturned," the statement said.

The federal decision required Boeing to "cease and desist" and post a notice, within the next two weeks, saying employees are entitled to join a union and participate in union activities.

The decision by Administrative Law Judge Gerald Etchingham also requires Boeing to rescind its security and management policies that call for photographing and videotaping rallies and marches in or near the factory.

"This ruling is a searing indictment of the illegal intimidation tactics Boeing uses against its own employees," said Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which filed the NLRB complaint against Boeing.

The NLRB said the violations occurred during contract talks in 2012 when Boeing observed and recorded "peaceful solidarity walks or marches in and around" Boeing plants in Renton and Everett, Washington, and Portland.

(Editing by Eric Walsh and Tom Brown)

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