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In brief: Judge won’t drop Boeing lawsuit

Fri., July 1, 2011, midnight

Washington – A federal judge on Thursday denied Boeing Co.’s request to toss out a government lawsuit that claims the company illegally retaliated against unionized workers by moving some work from Washington state to South Carolina.

The ruling by Administrative Law Judge Clifford Anderson is an early victory for the National Labor Relations Board.

The NLRB alleges that Boeing violated labor laws by opening a new production line for its 787 airplane in South Carolina. The agency claims Boeing opened the new plant to punish Washington state workers for past strikes and wants the company to return the work to Washington.

Boeing denies the charges, saying it opened the South Carolina plant for valid economic reasons. A hearing on the case began in Seattle on June 14.

While the 21-page ruling comes before any evidence has been presented or testimony heard in the case, Anderson appeared to agree with two of the NLRB’s main points. One was that labor law may be violated even though the work was new rather than being taken away from existing workers. The second is that the proposed remedy of moving the new production line back to Washington is not necessarily too harsh.

Sentencing law ruled retroactive

Washington – As many as 12,000 people in federal prison for crack-related crimes can get their sentences reduced as a result of a new law that brought the penalties for the drug more closely in line with those for powdered cocaine, a government commission decided Thursday.

The decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission applies to approximately 1 in 17 inmates in the federal system.

Congress last year substantially lowered the sentences for crack-related crimes such as possession and trafficking, changing a 1980s law that was criticized as racially discriminatory.

The question before the commission Thursday was whether people already locked up under the old law should benefit retroactively from the changes. The six-member commission unanimously decided in their favor.

“I believe that the commission has no choice but to make this right,” said Ketanji Brown Jackson, a vice chairwoman of the commission.


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