According to the National Labor Relations Board charge, Boeing chose to set up its second 787 production line in North Charleston, S.C., in retaliation against the Machinists’ union because of repeated strikes against the company and the possibility the union could go on strike again. The NLRB is simply doing its job, defending the rights of workers to collectively bargain and to act in concerted activity. Were Boeing’s actions to go unchecked, companies would be free to coerce and intimidate workers, their unions and states into deals that primarily profit the company. This would make a mockery of the fundamental human right of workers to stand together in order to balance out the power of corporations. The NLRB issued the complaint against Boeing after a careful investigation, providing Boeing with every opportunity to defend itself. It even granted Boeing’s numerous requests for delay. In the end, the NLRB decided it was compelled to act in the face of Boeing’s admission that its move was motivated by its desire to avoid lawful collective bargaining. Boeing admitted to retaliating against the union and in so doing made an illegal transfer of work. Rather than blaming the NLRB for doing its job, we should all be asking why Boeing proceeded so recklessly with so much at stake. Boeing, grow up and face your responsibilities. — Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, in the Seattle Times
A common refrain among recession-weary Americans is that we don’t make anything in this country anymore. However, workers in South Carolina have a chance to make something — Boeing 787 Dreamliners that would be flown around the world — and yet Obama’s labor-cozy appointees to the National Labor Relations Board are intent on scuttling it. Boeing, a vital U.S. company, wants to build a plant in South Carolina and bring good-paying manufacturing jobs to the state. It already has poured billions into the facilities and hired 1,000 workers. But the NLRB filed a lawsuit last month to force Boeing back to Washington state, where workers would be represented by a union. The NLRB claims Boeing decided to open a nonunion plant in South Carolina in retaliation for past strikes in Washington. So what if it did? The NLRB’s action is beyond unsettling. The lawsuit, in effect, is an effort to tell an American company how to operate its business and to intimidate its officers. Shouldn’t Boeing be allowed to build a plant where it sees fit, assuming the state welcomes it with open arms, as South Carolina has? President Obama, who has been silent on this issue, needs to tell his appointees to the NLRB that this type of intimidation is unacceptable. If he doesn’t, it’s only a matter of time until it spreads to other parts of the country.
— Denver Post
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