Just-Opened Alabama Aircraft Factory Illustrative of Right to Work States’ ‘Advantage on Recruiting Out-of-Country or Out-of-State Employers’

Airbus, the European plane-maker that has for years been competing with Boeing for dominance in the global aerospace market, is staking its hopes for expanding its relatively small share of the U.S. market on a $600 million plant for single-aisle airplanes — located in the Gulf Coast port city of Mobile in Right to Work Alabama — that opened on Monday.

As the Bloomberg News story linked below reported, Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier is calling the Mobile facility “the most significant, game-changing incident in U.S. areospace in decades.”

Already being produced at the factory are A321s, jets “seating upward of 200 passengers” that are “becoming a mainstay of transcontinental flying by American, Delta, JetBlue, and other airlines,” according to Bloomberg reporters Julie Johnsson, Andrea Rothman, and Matthew Miller.  Deliveries from the factory are due to start in early 2016.  Moreover, Airbus “holds an option to double the 116-acre site to accommodate future work.”

From the time Airbus announced it would locate its first U.S. airline factory in Mobile a little over three years ago, Alabama elected officials such as Gov. Robert Bentley have forthrightly shared their conviction that the state’s Right to Work law was a major factor in the decision. In July 2012, Bentley told Fox Business’s Neil Cavuto: “I think being a right-to-work state is the reason many international companies look at Alabama and the other right-to-work states.”

Employers who make such statements know they court public abuse, boycotts and vandalism by union bosses and their militant followers. Just a few years ago, Boeing managers’ incautious candor about the fact that their decision to expand airplane production in Right to Work South Carolina was largely motivated by their desire to be able to continue operating with nonunion employees during strikes resulted in unfair labor practice charges being filed against the company by Obama-appointed National Labor Relations Board Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon.

But despite the evident risks, more and more business leaders nowadays are acknowledging, albeit in cautious language, that Right to Work is something they look for when they create jobs.

Also in July 2012, Allan McArtor, then Airbus’s U.S. chairman and now chairman and CEO of its North American subsidiary, circumspectly observed: “I don’t think there is any question that right-to-work states have an advantage on recruiting out-of-country or out-of-state employers. It is not a definitive reason why we chose Alabama but I don’t think there is any secret to the fact that it is an advantage.”

Of course, Big Labor chieftains and their apologists want to keep the Right to Work “advantage” under wraps, and are willing to use intimidation to get their way, but headlines like those emanating from Mobile this week make it harder and harder for them to do so.

When Airbus first announced it would build its first assembly plant in Right to Work Alabama a little more than three years ago, the company’s American chairman publicly observed, “I don’t think there’s any question that right-to-work states have an advantage in recruiting out-of-country or out-of-state employers.” Image: Dave Martin/AP

Airbus guns for Boeing with new Alabama factory