The Seattle Times, which reports on its hometown Boeing Company more than any other U.S. newspaper, has editorialized against the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against the company over its decision to build new production facilities in South Carolina against Washington state.
It was a blow to Puget Sound country when Boeing put its second 787 assembly line in South Carolina. It was also part of a hardball negotiation between the company and the International Association of Machinists. This page regretted Boeing’s decision, but has never thought of it as something that could be, or should be, reversed by the federal government.
The National Labor Relations Board has labeled Boeing’s decision an unfair labor practice, and is asking a federal court to order the line to be moved to Washington. We would celebrate the day Boeing decided to do that — but it is Boeing’s decision.
The company and the union are both grown-ups here. Each knows its rights.
The union has a right to strike. It may be unwise to strike at a particular time, such as the month Wall Street had its worst collapse in 75 years, but it is the union’s right.
The company has the right to build assembly plants. It can build them in South Carolina or in Afghanistan if it likes. Its decision may be unwise, but it is Boeing’s.
No reaction so far that we find online from Washington’s two Democratic Senators, Sen. Maria Cantwell, who toured the state last week blasting high gasoline prices, or Sen. Patty Murray. In South Carolina, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) — whose constituents would work in the North Charleston Boeing plant — is encouraged about the Port of Charleston but has not issued a statement on the NLRB’s move.
The New York Times labor reporter, Steven Greenhouse, essays a big picture approach toward the NLRB’s move, in which Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon argues that he’s just doing his job by filing the complaint, which demands that Boeing manufacture the 787 Dreamliner in the Puget Sound area.
National columnists have lambasted the NLRB for its complaint.
- Jay Ambrose, “No end to ways unions hurt economy“
- Kathleen Parker, “The NLRB fires a shot South Carolina can’t ignore“
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