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NLRB: All the President's Union Henchmen

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

On June 10, Boeing cut the ribbon on a new factory for its 787 Dreamliner in Charleston, South Carolina. The plant cost $750M, the largest industrial investment in the state’s history. One thousand workers were hired, and as many as 7,000 jobs could ultimately be created in and around this state-of-the-art facility.

Great news for a state with revenue shortfalls and an unemployment rate of 9.8%.

And during the time Boeing was building the South Carolina factory, the company created 2,000 union jobs at its existing Dreamliner plant in Washington state.

Everybody wins, right?

Wait—not so fast.

Back in April, at the behest of the union, the National Labor Relations Board filed a lawsuit against Boeing. They claimed the Chicago-based airplane manufacturer chose South Carolina, a right-to-work-state, as a way of retaliating against union workers in Washington who had in the past organized work stoppages. They claimed the move was anti-union.

What’s going on here? Why is the NLRB, “an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions,” fighting a union battle and standing in the way of job creation in South Carolina?

Because they’re not an independent agency at all.

According to its website, the NLRB consists of five board members, each appointed by the president to a 5-year term. Currently, there are only four members serving on the board. Three are Obama appointees. One is a recess appointee awaiting confirmation. The last seat is vacant.

Does that sound “independent” to you? Yeah, me neither. From where I’m sitting, it sounds like they’re nothing more than the president’s union henchmen.

If ever there were evidence that this administration is pandering to its constituency with policy decisions that are patently anti-business, this is it. Plain and simple, the NLRB is doing the dirty work for a president who has decided that his friends in organized labor are more important than the economic future of this great country. In order to appease his constituency, he has turned a blind eye to the creation of 7,000 jobs. These are good jobs, too—jobs that could support families and help grow the economy. If I were a resident of the Palmetto State, I’d be madder than a wet hen.

My father, God rest his soul, believed in unions. And I agree that there was a time in our nation’s history when unions served an important purpose. But those days are long gone.

Today, union employees make up just 6.9% of the private workforce. But judging by the behavior of the NLRB, it’s pretty clear that this tiny group has 100% of the president’s ear. Bill Daley, another fellow Chicagoan and a close Obama advisor, was on Boeing’s board of directors when the decision to build the South Carolina plant was made. That’s the very same Bill Daley whom the president brought on board to help him sell Wall Street and the business community on the notion that he was serious about growing the economy.

If he were really serious, he’d order his henchmen to stand down.

But he isn’t and he won’t. And who’s paying the price? The American worker, the state of South Carolina and the U.S. economy.

South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham put this absurd situation in perspective. “If the NLRB is allowed to overrule Boeing’s business decision,” he said, “there are no winners.”

I’m inclined to put it even more strongly: If Obama’s henchmen are allowed to overrule Boeing’s business decision, we will never see a corporation set up shop in a union state again, regardless of tax breaks or any other incentive they’re offered.

That should help create jobs and grow the economy, right Mr. President?
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