Thursday, April 21, 2011

Obama's radical NLRB: Killing off right-to-work

The federal system of government not only serves as a laboratory of democracy, it also is a laboratory of economics. For instance, since World War II, America's manufacturing base has been moving from unionized states to right-to-work states. Companies gain flexibility, and workers still have the right organize utilizing federally supervised secret-ballot elections. Of course Big Labor doesn't view that second one as good enough for them, which is why they want to replace it with free-to-peek card check.

Two years ago Boeing announced its to build a new airliner, the 787. The aerospace giant, although it didn't have to, presented its plans to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to manufacture the jet in Washington state. But the union presented demands that Boeing, which move its corporate headquarters from Washington to Chicago in 2001, did not want to meet: a seat on its board for for the union and a commitment to build all future planes in Washington.

Boeing declined. It plans to start building the 787 in South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

But the Machinists union complained to the National Labor Relations Board, which has been radicalized by overtly pro-union President Obama.

From the Wall Street Journal--paid subscription required:

So Boeing management did what it judged to be best for its shareholders and customers and looked elsewhere. In October 2009, the company settled on South Carolina, which, like the 21 other right-to-work states, has friendlier labor laws than Washington. As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn't have "strikes happening every three to four years." The union has shut down Boeing's commercial aircraft production line four times since 1989, and a 58-day strike in 2008 cost the company $1.8 billion.

This reasonable business decision created more than 1,000 jobs and has brought around $2 billion of investment to South Carolina. The aerospace workers in Puget Sound remain among the best paid in America, but the union nonetheless asked the NLRB to stop Boeing's plans before the company starts to assemble planes in North Charleston this July.

The NLRB obliged with its complaint yesterday asking an administrative law judge to stop Boeing's South Carolina production because its executives had cited the risk of strikes as a reason for the move. Boeing acted out of "anti-union animus," says the complaint by acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, and its decision to move had the effect of "discouraging membership in a labor organization" and thus violates federal law.

It's hard to know which law he's referring to. There are plentiful legal precedents that give business the right to locate operations in right-to-work states. That right has created healthy competition among states and kept tens of millions of jobs in America rather than heading overseas.
More change that I can't believe in.

Related post:

GOP blows chance to defund radical NLRB

UPDATE April 22: Writing in the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein reports that a former NLRB chairman remarked about the Boeing ruling, "There is no precedent to support this."

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