Obama Bureaucrat Tells Boeing Where to Expand

Company Prodded to Abandon New Aircraft Plant in Right Work State

(Source: May 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)

To a rational observer, it’s obvious that the antics of the strike-happy union bosses at Boeing’s West Coast facilities over the past few decades have been detrimental to the interests of the aerospace company’s rank-and-file domestic employees as well as its shareholders.

Since 1975, International Association of Machinists (IAM/AFL-CIO) union bosses have ordered employees at Boeing’s Washington State and Oregon facilities out on strike five times. The most recent strike, in 2008, lasted 58 days and cost the company $1.8 billion.

In a highly competitive, globalized industry like aircraft production, such costly labor stoppages put Boeing jobs at risk. The potential harm to workers is far greater than any economic gain they could possibly reap from a strike.

Obama NLRB’s Top Lawyer: Sensible Business Decision Driven by ‘Anti-Union Animus’

Boeing managers long accepted IAM boss-instigated strikes as a cost of doing business. However, in 2009, having failed to secure a no-strike deal with the union, Boeing finally moved to address this chronic problem by locating a new aircraft production line in Right to Work South Carolina.

Boeing executives knew that a majority of their current employees in South Carolina had opted against union monopoly bargaining. The new plant’s availability for production during a strike would mitigate the company’s revenue losses.

If Boeing is allowed to proceed with this plan in peace, its employees, union and nonunion alike, as well as its shareholders will surely benefit from an investment making strikes far less likely and less costly if they occur.

Unfortunately, Lafe Solomon, the man President Obama has selected to be the top lawyer for the powerful National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), doesn’t intend to let Boeing open its now-already-built, $2 billion 787 Dreamliner plant in North Charleston, S.C.

Nor does Mr. Solomon, whose nomination has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, intend to let the 1000 employees Boeing has already hired for the plant to start working and collecting paychecks.

In an extraordinary complaint filed April 20, Acting NLRB General Counsel Solomon insisted that Boeing’s eminently sensible move to expand production in a Right to Work state so as to cut the cost to customers, employees and shareholders of disruptive IAM strikes was driven by “anti-union animus” and illegal.

Mr. Solomon’s complaint asked an NLRB administrative law judge to stop Boeing’s South Carolina production. Even New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse, a relentless apologist for compulsory unionism, acknowledged that the general counsel’s move was “highly unusual for the federal government.”

Solomon Power Grab Underscores Need To Defund NLRB

The fact is, Mr. Solomon’s attempt to force Boeing to move its second line of 787 Dreamliners from Right to Work South Carolina to forced-unionism Washington State has from the beginning been highly controversial.

On April 28, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and his counterparts in eight other Right to Work states sent a strongly worded letter to Mr. Solomon urging him to withdraw the complaint.

“General Counsel Solomon’s assault against employees and businesses in Right to Work states, launched at IAM union bosses’ behest, may or may not ultimately prevail at the NLRB and in the federal court system,” said Greg Mourad, the National Right to Work Committee’s legislative director.

“Regardless of how it unfolds, this power grab underscores the danger of putting implementation of federal labor laws that are already strongly biased against the individual employee’s Right to Work in the hands of politically appointed ideologues like Lafe Solomon.

“Back in February, the Committee supported an appropriations amendment by pro-Right to Work Congressman Tom Price [R-Ga.] that would have completely defunded the NLRB for the rest of this fiscal year.

“Because 60 Big Labor-appeasing GOP representatives joined with all Democrats present and voting in opposition to the Price Amendment, it failed, 176-250.

“All House members, Democrats and Republicans, who opposed the Price Amendment were responsible, wittingly or not, for helping Lafe Solomon do his dirty work last month.

“The Solomon power grab should make it clear to all elected officials who profess to support the Right to Work principle why the NLRB must be defunded before it does even more damage.”