On Wednesday evening organized labor and Democrats, apparently with the indirect blessing of the president, succeeded in derailing a Republican amendment. The amendment would have halted funding for the National Labor Relations Board to continue fighting Boeing’s plans to produce the 787 Dreamliner in Charleston (S.C.)
NLRB’s acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon has accused Boeing as taking actions that “were inherently destructive of the rights guaranteed employees…”
Solomon has worked for the government for most if not all of his professional life. At stake for Charleston workers are approximately 1,100 new private sector jobs that would pay excellent wages and benefits.
Ironically President Barack Obama visited the lowcountry area during 2008 when he campaigned for the general election. An obviously enthusiastic reporter for the local daily in Charleston said, “Obama is fond of our ‘beautiful, restful’ city.”
Obama promised his supporters jobs:
“’This is our moment,’ Obama said. ‘This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity.”
In sharp contrast, the president’s appointee is attempting to block Boeing from putting jobs where it wants to. NLRB, in an unprecedented move in US history, wants the jobs for Washington where bargaining rights for Boeing workers are held by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 751.
NLRB said the union accused Boeing of transferring Dreamliner production to “retaliate against union employees for participating in past strikes and to chill future strike activity, which is protected under the National Labor Relations Act.”
That might be true if Boeing had a non-unionized facility in Washington and chose to locate production there.
South Carolina is a right to work state. That means a worker can’t be fired for refusing to join a union or to pay union dues.
Washington is a forced unionism state. The Labor Union Report explains this slightly more complex label:
“[Forced unionism] allows unions to negotiate contracts with companies that require union dues and/or fees to be paid. If a worker refuses to pay union dues or fees (often referred to as agency fees), or falls behind, the union can demand that the worker be fired from the company. The company, by contract, must comply and fire the worker.”
Obama has made no secret of his ties to organized labor. As of February, 2011, one labor chief had visited the White House 53 times. Obama did not want to disclose White House visitor logs; a federal judge ruled that he must.
The central issue in the NLRB complaint is whether a company has the right to locate production where it wants to. There is no labor agreement in South Carolina, and Washington’s union workers have no agreement that covers South Carolina.
The Chicago Tribune, certainly no fountain of conservatism, said in an article critical of Obama’s NLRB, “The aircraft maker deserved nationwide applause for opening a new 787 Dreamliner assembly plant outside Charleston, S.C. The move ensured that thousands of jobs would stay in the U.S. for years to come.”
Boeing corporate headquarters is located in Chicago.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) summed up the NLRB complaint in June:
“Right now Boeing is stuck in what amounts to a union-controlled NLRB Star Chamber whose sole purpose is to extract a pound of flesh from the company. Eventually Boeing will break free from the union-dominated process and move to a truly independent court of law. It’s there Boeing ultimately prevails over this frivolous NLRB complaint. South Carolina earned the right to build these airplanes and no unelected bureaucracy is going to take that away from us.”
Is the NLRB attacking right to work states? Does the Obama administration have the right to use taxpayer money to attack a private sector company purely for political ideology?
Only in a socialist economy can a government issue a diktat on where production of goods will occur.