The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to issue a complaint regarding the Boeing facility in South Carolina is a poorly veiled act of revenge against a company that refused to let Big Labor bosses decide its future. As seemingly ridiculous and unbelievable as the attack on the part of the U.S. Government against an American corporation seeking to create jobs at home is, the consequences that this precedent sets for businesses and their right to work is downright dangerous.
The case in question came up when, Boeing, after negotiations with their union in Washington State broke down, decided to build a factory in South Carolina in order to meet demand for their 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Boeing had hoped to stay in Washington, and even opened up negotiations with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) as a show of good faith. When the union demanded a seat on the board and a promise that all facilities would stay in Puget Sound forever, the negotiations broke down and Boeing began to look elsewhere.
Boeing decided to build the new facility in South Carolina, a right-to-work state with more business friendly labor laws. While choosing to build in a new state did not take any Boeing jobs away from Washington, which has actually seen 2,000 jobs created since the new facility in South Carolina was announced; union bosses felt slighted and demanded their friends at President Obama’s labor board intervene on their behalf.
The NLRB complied and almost two years after the new facility was announced, and as construction was concluding and hiring commencing, the regulatory agency told Boeing that they could not extend operations to South Carolina because it was retaliation against Big Labor. This is a blow to South Carolina. It is a swipe to freedom. And it sends a chilling message to any company seeking to relocate in the United States: you are better off moving to Canada or Mexico than creating news jobs in your own country.
But the true damage of this political power play on behalf of Big Labor and against Boeing and South Carolinagoes much farther. An NLRB spokesperson recently stated, “The effect would have been the same if the line had been moved to a nonunion facility in any state.”