In case you had any question, union bullying is still alive and well. No, I’m not referring to the recent confrontation in Wisconsin where protesters effectively shut down the state’s government for weeks and carried signs comparing elected officials to Nazis, because they were seeking to solve a serious budget shortfall by limiting collective bargaining rights for public-sector workers.
The latest example of big government and big labor collaborating to intimidate business has much larger implications, especially at a time when unemployment remains high and the economy is still weakly sputtering along.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – a relic of New Deal era politics – has filed suit against Boeing over plans the giant aerospace company is implementing to build the new 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina. The NLRB, which is carrying water for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), is seeking an injunction to force Boeing to build the new plane at an existing plant in the Washington state.
What seems to really irritate the NLRB and the IAM is that South Carolina is a “right-to-work” state. This means an individual is able to work freely without being forced to become a member of a union. Boeing, which had been hurt in recent years by labor disruptions, was concerned about further production issues and the “rate of escalation of wages” at their primary plant on the west coast. For a company itself struggling against rapidly rising costs and increased competition from its European counterpart, Airbus, such concerns are not without merit.
The NRLB, however, has thrown its considerable legal weight behind the IAM, and claims Boeing’s opening of a plant in South Carolina is retaliatory since it and the local chapter of IAM could not reach a “no-strike” agreement. NLRB jumps to the preposterous conclusion that Boeing’s decision violates “workers’ rights.”
Apparently, the right of a business to act in its own self-interest to ensure it is able to continue to produce, has now become an unlawful act.
This is not a case in which Boeing is pulling work from one plant and moving to another; in fact, as Kathleen Parker points out in an editorial at the Washington Post, 2,000 jobs have been added at the Washington-based plant since the plans in South Carolina were announced. The company is simply expanding.
Businesses looking to expand, and states looking to attract new jobs should take notice. The precedent being set by the NLRB, as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) noted, will allow power-hungry unions to “hold a virtual ‘veto’ over business decisions.”
President Barack Obama has made rolling back regulations a theme this year. If he needs an example of why so many businesses and jobs are going overseas, he need look no further than his own administration and its treatment of Boeing, as “Exhibit A.”
By Bob Barr — The Barr Code