The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, is in the midst of a case against the Boeing Company because of its creation of a new branch in South Carolina. At a time when our economy is barely managing to grow at 1.8 percent and with a sustained unemployment rate of 9 percent, lodging a complaint against positive business expansion hardly seems appropriate. The Boeing Company is not cutting any jobs with this expansion of a second production line for the 787 Dreamliner aircraft into South Carolina, but is rather creating new ones.
The Boeing Company has already constructed a new location in the right-to-work state of South Carolina and has hired about 1,000 new employees. No jobs in the state of Washington have been impacted by Boeing’s expansion, in order to deal with a backlog of orders. However, Washington is a closed-shop union state and Boeing has been bogged down by an ongoing dispute there with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union in Washington claims that Boeing’s move to South Carolina was retaliatory even though no jobs have been impacted in Washington in any way.
An opinion piece in the New York Times contained the following statement describing the NLRB’s claim:
“It may be a difficult case to prove, but the complaint filed last month by the National Labor Relations Board against Boeing is a welcome effort to defend workers’ right to collective bargaining.”
This editorial stance is entirely wrong headed in its clear anti-business perspective. To pretend that the NLRB’s complaint is anything other than an attempt at curtailing a corporations’ right to locate in right-to-work states is a farce. Collective bargaining agreements are being upheld not violated. There is no breech of the agreement between the Boeing Company and its employees. Collective bargaining has continued and all agreements between the two parties have been honored.
But where is the NLRB’s bent toward crushing American enterprises in right-to-work states originating? Not only was Obama financed by Big Labor in the amount of $60.7 million for his campaign, but he has also systematically sought to pack government agencies with radicals from within the labor movement.
The labor movement has been greatly rewarded for their campaign efforts. When Obama’s nominee to the NLRB was rejected by the Senate, he simply resorted to recess appointments. One nominee for the NLRB, Craig Becker, had served as general counsel for SEIU and the AFL-CIO. He had published his views promoting the bypassing of Congress through NLRB regulations that favor Big Labor. Becker was roundly defeated with a bipartisan vote of 52 to 33 in February of 2010.
The National Association of Manufacturers issued the following statement in praise of the Senate vote:
“The Senate recognized that the views of Mr. Becker are far outside the mainstream and ill-suited for a member of the NLRB.”
In spite of the bipartisan consensus in the Senate concerning the controversial nominees, Obama simply ignored the definitive vote and made a recess appointment later. Obama also made the NLRB appointment of Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon during Senate recess, and Solomon still has not been confirmed by the Senate.
When the Obama administration continued pursuing the appointment of this controversial nominee to the board, the Senate expressed concern about Becker in a prescient letter to the president that was signed by 41 Republican senators:
“His writings clearly indicate that he would use his position on the NLRB to institute far-reaching changes in labor law far exceeding the board’s authority and bypassing the role of Congress.”
The Senate’s concerns have become reality as the NLRB seeks to force Boeing to produce aircraft only in Washington.
Sen. Orrin Hatch voiced his opinion on the case sponsored by the NLRB:
Seventeen months and a billion-dollar investment by Boeing later, the
NLRB filed its complaint, which contains no substantive evidence of
anti-union animus on the part of Boeing or of an adverse impact on the
unionized workers in Washington — both of which are required to
demonstrate the type of violation alleged in this case.
The Federal government does not have the legal authority to prohibit a company from expanding its business or building a new factory in another state. Court rulings have established that a union representative can never presume to be an equal partner in running a business.
Michael Luttig, executive vice president of Boeing, also serves as general counsel for Boeing. He made the following conclusions at a Senate committee hearing on May 12th:
“The board has never before ordered an employer actually to construct or expand a facility in a particular state in what is frankly a breathtaking substitution of the board for management in the running of an American company.”
Luttig also lamented the fact that hundreds of thousands of jobs might be lost as this case works its way through the federal courts after the upcoming June 14th hearing.
America needs jobs and successful businesses during this current economic morass. Only job creators can hire new employees while President Obama extols his own ability to expand the food stamp program. With Americans facing such a reality, is this an optimal time to enact policies that quell the expansion of healthy corporations and fraudulently claim damage to unionized workers?
The NLRB is on a rampage aimed at the Boeing Company’s expansion into South Carolina simply because it seeks to intimidate companies that locate in right-to-work states. The board’s unprecedented claims and interference are entirely bogus.
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