Criticisms Mount Against NLRB’s Attack Against Boeing, Business

By April 21, 2011Economy, Labor Unions

Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, today issued a statement reacting to the National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against The Boeing Company for expanding operations in South Carolina instead of Washington state, where organized labor holds sway.

The recent action by the National Labor Relations Board threatens American jobs at a time when more than 13 million individuals are searching for work. Although the facts of the case are still in dispute, it appears an activist NLRB is more concerned about protecting certain special interests than the rights of all workers to compete for jobs. This action will have a chilling effect on businesses looking to expand operations, create jobs, and hire employees here in the United States. This kind of federal overreach helps demonstrate why so many workplaces have closed their doors and moved overseas, and is an unprecedented attack on the American workforce.

South Carolina’s Attorney General Alan Wilson weighed in after the NLRB announced the complaint Wednesday, in which the board sided with the International Association of Machinists (IAM):

Today’s complaint filed by the NLRB on behalf of the IAM is a direct assault on South Carolina jobs and our economy. We will fight to protect the right of companies to freely conduct their business without the federal government’s intrusion. Therefore, this office will explore all legal options available to fully protect our citizens.

Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) at a news conference with Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Lindsay Graham said:

Such heavy-handed tactics on behalf of the President’s union supporters are an affront to the people of the Palmetto State who voted overwhelmingly in support of a constitutional amendment guaranteeing workers the right to secret ballots in union elections.

And again, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been Tweeting with tough, concise criticisms.

One major South Carolina official who has eschewed comment so far is Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), who hailed Boeing’s expansion plans when the company announced them in 2009. As a member of the House Democratic leadership team, Clyburn no doubt faces pressure to embrace — or at least remain quiet about — the Democratic-controlled NLRB, but South Carolinians will also notice if he avoids addressing the board’s extreme, anti-business complaint. Many, many of the Congressman’s constituents could work at the Boeing plant.

Elsewhere, Joshua Trevino, a Texas political consultant (and friend) with experience in California and South Carolina, archly observes, “The Obama Administration’s NLRB tires of your ‘federalism’ and your ‘free enterprise,” and then comments at Facebook:

In all seriousness, a genuinely monstrous and unusual move by the NLRB. This is the federal government interposing itself to protect failing — and yes, left-wing — areas of the country from competition from other, growing areas. Today it’s Washington State being protected from South Carolina; tomorrow it will be California seeking protection from Texas.

John Raudabaugh, former member of the National Labor Relation Board, commented in an interview with Channel 5, WCSC-TV:

It seems to me that Boeing has done nothing wrong… The union representatives had repeated meetings with the company. They fully understood the reasons that Boeing was undertaking and they have a legal obligation to communicate to their members. I find this just amazing, I can’t believe that Boeing won’t prevail.

And Ed Morrissey at Hot Air sees in the NLRB’s action a confirmation of the topicality of the new film, Atlas Shrugged, based on the Ayn Rand novel. He comments further:

Workers have the ability to collectively bargain for wages, benefits, and working conditions in the private sector if they desire.  If they make their labor too costly and businesses can conduct their operations elsewhere, then they have the right to do so, too.  The government has no legitimate role in forcing business owners to be hostages to their workforce.  If the workers price themselves out of their jobs, then they need to deal with the consequences. The ability to collectively bargain does not include a guarantee of a job.

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