Free Markets, Free People

NLRB to Boeing – build 787 in union state or we sue

It is a battle between a business’s best interests and about its fundamental right to make decisions about how it conducts its business and the government’s "right" to interfere and dictate how and where it will do its business.

In what may be the strongest signal yet of the new pro-labor orientation of the National Labor Relations Board under President Obama, the agency filed a complaint Wednesday seeking to force Boeing to bring an airplane production line back to its unionized facilities in Washington State instead of moving the work to a nonunion plant in South Carolina.

One of the reasons the South has thrived while the Rust Belt has, well, rusted, is companies have taken advantage of the “right to work” rules in most Southern states to locate there without fear of work stoppages at every turn.  That would seem to be a fundamental right that any business should enjoy, the right to locate their business where they feel their best interests are served.  What the government is saying is that’s not true – if you have union employees elsewhere.

In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing’s decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes. The agency’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said it was illegal for companies to take actions in retaliation against workers for exercising the right to strike.

First, it’s not “retaliation” if the facts in the story are correct.  Boeing has hired 2,000 more employees – union employees – at the Washington state plant since the decision was made to add a second assembly line and do it in South Carolina.  So A) it’s not taking jobs away and B) the additional jobs since the decision hardly speak of “retaliation” in any sense a rational person would be able to discern.

Second, the “complaint” comes as the plant in South Carolina nears completion and 1,000 workers have been hired there. 

So, given those facts, this is a crap statement (that’s technical talk):

In a statement Wednesday, Mr. Solomon said: “A worker’s right to strike is a fundamental right guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act. We also recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law.”

This is the usual duplicitous talk you get from this administration – acknowledge the right of the employer to make business decisions based on their economic decisions and then immediately deny what was just acknowledged.  This too is crap":

“Boeing’s decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights,” said the union’s vice president, Rich Michalski.

No, they haven’t sent such a message.  What they’ve said is they have a backlog of orders and can’t afford (business interest) work stoppages every 3 years while unions negotiate a new contract. That is a legitimate concern.  And they want some sort of continuity built into the productions system that accounts for that probability.  No one is denying union workers their “rights” in Washington nor have any union employees been fired because of them – again, since the decision to locate in SC was made, 2,000 additional union employees have been hired there.

What’s is happening here is government has chosen to take sides and is attempting to intimidate Boeing.  The side it has picked – surprise – is the union side.  And it plans to use its power to attempt to force a company into doing something which is not in its best business interests, despite the lip service Solomon gives that “right”.  But there’s no “hostile business climate” here, is there?

Bottom line?

The company also said it had decided to expand in South Carolina in part to protect business continuity and to reduce the damage to its finances and reputation from future work stoppages.

And in a free country, Boeing would have every right to expect to be able to do that without interference.



Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

17 Responses to NLRB to Boeing – build 787 in union state or we sue

  • And now businesses considering locating themselves in Washington see that they will never be allowed to leave, lest it be seen as “retaliation.”

  • LOL this is stupid. I guess if they wanted to they could strike, but i see absolutely no case here for anyone to force Boeing to do something they don’t want to. What exactly is illegal about retaliating against the union anyhow? Someone has to answer me that one.

  • The NLRB is gonna be told to go pound sand.  The SCOTUS has already decided, in a previous decision, that companies can use a history of strikes in their business considerations.

  • Overreach yields Backlash

    • Right on Looker, just about every time.

      • Being son of a faithful member of the IBEW, from a union (slave) state, I have this thing about being able to work where I can get hired without having to be in a Union.
        How closed shops make this a ‘free country’ and ‘right to work’ is some kind of evil plot is beyond me.

      • I’m the son of a CWA “slave” .. em .. I mean shop steward, who hated the union.
        He managed to get everybody at his shop to join, only because they were paying for it anyway, and if you didn’t join they wouldn’t protect you even if you were paying.

        • Sobering experience for a young guy who lives in the “land of the free” being trained up to fight the evil communist hordes out of the East to discover ‘closed shop’ means ‘you can’t work here if you ain’t union’ exists right there in his little city in Yankee America, and is, literally,  the rule in the entire state.
          Didn’t talk Union in my house, unless you were saying good things, you’d better not be saying anything at all, and my dad was a really laid back guy.  I did, once, and once was all.  Pretty sure I could have said disparaging things about the Pope far longer than I was allowed to say them about the Union.
          I have to wonder where he’d be on the subject today.

  • The only thing worse than a union thug is an ObamaJugen thug.

  • Well, hey; the unions spent BIG $$$ to buy this prez!

  • This boils down to one of those things that differientiates the “union” from the “workers” who may happen to be union members.
    This “retaliation,” if in fact there is any, is against the “union” not the “worker.”

  • Since the employees in SC have the right to organize, whether they choose to or not, isn’t the NLRB retaliating against non union employees? The effect of this decision if implemented will be to punish employees for not unionizing.

  • Atlas Shrugged is looking more prophetic every day.

  • We can get Eric Holder and the DOJ involved, and Boeing will move its manufacturing to China or some business-friendly country.

    It’s about to happen with our ‘evil’ oil companies – Exxon/Mobil.

    Pick any company that creates and produces and manufactures and EXPORTS what it makes  – and they will leave the USA with this administration’s policies.  This admin. has never held a job or run a business.  With Obama-Holder never having produced or created anything(other than paper and litigation and policies) – including a budget – these clowns are clueless.

    Take a good look at Detroit at it’s heyday… and look at it now.  Step back and what changed?  Union ‘strength’ decimated the U.S. auto industry in Detroit.  It flourishes in the non-union states.