NLRB complaint a blow to free business

The National Labor Relations Board — packed by President Obama with labor-friendly board members — this past week filed a complaint in an attempt to force Boeing to not build any of its 787 Dreamliner passenger jets in its non-union South Carolina facility and move all production back to its unionized plants in Washington state.

The NLRB based its action on the contention that Boeing’s opening of an additional assembly line in South Carolina was an illegal retaliation against their union workers, who had exercised their right to strike.

The board said Boeing officials had been quoted in news accounts stating that one of the reasons for a 2009 decision to expand into another state was because of past strikes. Boeing workers in Puget Sound, members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, have struck twice in the past six years, including a 58-day strike in 2008.

The complaint cited a story from The Seattle Times that quoted a Boeing official saying of the South Carolina plant, “The overriding factor was not the business climate. And it was not the wages we’re paying today. It was that we cannot afford to have a work stoppage, you know, every three years.”

The NLRB’s lawyer, Lafe Solomon, said in a statement, “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.”

Boeing vowed to fight the complaint.

The company pointed out it has hired more than 1,000 workers in Charleston, but has added 2,000 workers in Puget Sound since it announced plans to expand into South Carolina. So how has the union been hurt?

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,was quoted by The Seattle Times as saying, “Left to their own devices, the NLRB would routinely punish right-to-work states that value and promote their pro-business climates.”

The complaint is but another example of this administration’s open frontal assault on successful businesses and the free market.

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