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Originally published July 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM | Page modified July 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Boeing asks NLRB to conduct some hearings in private

Boeing is asking an National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative judge for a protective order that will seal documents and restrict access by the public and press to parts of the ongoing NLRB hearing in Seattle.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

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Boeing is asking an National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative judge for a protective order that will seal documents and restrict access by the public and press to parts of the ongoing NLRB hearing in Seattle.

Boeing is defending itself against an NLRB charge that it broke labor laws when it chose to put the second 787 Dreamliner assembly line in Charleston, S.C., allegedly in retaliation against the Machinists union for past strikes at its Puget Sound factories.

Boeing asked the judge Monday "to safeguard the confidentiality of Boeing's sensitive business, commercial and proprietary information," including 787 program information such as its profit margins, schedules, relationships with suppliers, and production plans in Everett and in Charleston.

Boeing's filing states that the union has issued subpoenas for the release of such "trade secrets."

The company also seeks to withhold information from the union that might give it "an unfair advantage in future negotiations with Boeing."

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) union on Tuesday issued a statement saying that the "sweeping" Boeing request would bar the public from "hearing important evidence," including Boeing studies comparing the cost of putting the second 787 line in Charleston with the cost of putting it in Everett.

"If Boeing succeeds with this order, our members won't have the right to hear the facts Boeing's leaders considered when they decided to take their work away," said IAM spokeswoman Kelliher in the statement.

Boeing spokesman Tim Neale said the IAM should "share our concern about protecting Boeing proprietary information and trade secrets from Boeing's competitors."

The NLRB hearing, which began last month, has so far covered only preliminary procedural issues.

Lawyers on both sides will debate Boeing's proposed protective order at the hearing Thursday morning.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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