Filed under: Economy, Democrat Corruption, Capitalism, Statism | Tags: Boeing, The 787 Dreamliner, The National Labor Relations Board
Here in the northwest corner of the Left Coast, Boeing has always been a big part of local life. But the Left Coast is not a friendly place for business. Boeing was created here, cranked out B-17s and B-24s to win World War II, and supplied the workhorses of the world’s airlines. It came as a shock to the establishment when Boeing picked up their head office and moved it to Chicago several years ago, but it didn’t change the business climate. Liberals seem unable to make the mental connection between high taxes, onerous regulation and business relocating elsewhere.
In October of 2009, Boeing decided to build a new factory for its 787 Dreamliner. They first sought to build the new plant near its existing facilities in Puget Sound, but negotiations with the International Association of Machinists broke down when the union refused to agree to a long-term no-strike clause. The IAM had struck four times since 1989, costing Boeing at least $1.8 billion in revenue. Boeing looked for a friendlier business climate and decided to build an assembly plant for the Dreamliner near Charleston, South Carolina, a right-to-work state where, unlike Washington, workers are not forced to join unions. Because of this policy, only 6.2 percent of South Carolinians belong to unions. They get to make a choice.
Construction of Boeing’s South Carolina facility is almost complete, and the company has already hired more than 1,000 workers, mostly drawn from the immediate region. Even back in Washington, Boeing has increased employment at its Everett plant by 2,000 workers.
But that’s not good enough for the Obama administration’s government of the unions, by the unions and for the unions. Obama’s National Labor Relations Board wants to order Boeing to build a factory in Washington State and not in South Carolina. Can federal bureaucrats tell a private company where to build a factory? Apparently there is no power beyond the reach of the imperial Obama administration. He will go to any lengths to protect his campaign donations from the unions.
The NLRB hangs its case on a Boeing official’s statement to the Seattle Times that “The overriding factor [in transferring the assembly line] was that we cannot afford to have a work stoppage, you know,every three years.” The NLRB tries to claim that this is “unlawful employer speech” that infringes on a “worker’s fundamental” right to strike. The Supreme Court has long held that firms may consider the economic effect of strikes when making business decisions. As well, Boeing’s agreement with the IAM allows the company to build facilities at other locations.
This would hurt not only unions but all Americans. Why would any international firm invest in the United States knowing that the White House would favor its political allies. And it creates another strong incentive to companies to move their factories offshore.
Boeing said it will vigorously contest the ruling.
“This claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent,” said Boeing Executive Vice President and General Counsel J. Michael Luttig. “Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region.”
Boeing is critical of the timing of the complaint, a full 17 months after the company announced plans to expand to South Carolina. Final assembly of the first airplane is due to begin in July.
This is typical. In a period when both the nation and the administration are hungry for job creation, the Obama Administration moves to attack a company that has just created 3,000 new jobs.