In re The Boeing Company
Camera-enabled devices in non-restricted areas
The union complaint alleges that The Boeing Company (Respondent/Employer),violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA/the Act) when on four separate dates it engaged in surveillance or created an impression of surveillance and photographed Engineers’ Union employees at Respondent’s facilities in Everett and Renton, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. The complaint also alleges that Boeing violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act when it promulgated and maintained a procedure prohibiting employees’ personal camera-enabled devices (The policy permits possession of camera-enabled devices like smart phones on site, but prohibits their use without a valid camera permit approved by Security.) Boeing contends that these policies are necessary to maintain intellectual property and security and that such policies do not violate the Act in any way. Hearings were held in September, 2013 in Region 19, and the ALJ ordered that “Boeing violated section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA by videotaping employee marches within the production facilities on four separate occasions. Boeing is Ordered to cease and desist from photographing and videotaping workplace marches on or near its property or creating the impression of doing so. The Company policy unlawfully restricts employee’s section 7 rights. Boeing is ordered to revise or rescind the policy to expressly “allow employees to use their personal camera enabled device in non-restricted areas” within Boeing facilities. The Order limits “restricted areas” only to those housing classified work. In so ruling, the ALJ finds that Boeing has no credible business need to protect its manufacturing processes because of a marketing video including shots of a Boeing plant, and the availability of public facility tours. He states: “Respondent argues that its [policy] is necessary to protect the valid business need of protecting its valuable manufacturing process. I find Respondent’s argument non-credible based on its contrary practice of allowing free access to its manufacturing process both in the form of its DVD . . . and its VIP tours that allow unfettered photography to the general public. I find that Respondent’s manufacturing process is no more in need of protection than an automobile assembly line.” Boeing is also ordered to rescind any policies or procedures requiring Security personnel to videotape employee marches on or near its property.
On June 12, 2014 the NAM filed an amicus brief with the NLRB supporting Boeing's position.
(June 12, 2014)