By Kevin Meyer
I haven't exactly been Boeing's best friend over the past several years, regularly taking them to task for their nutty 787 Dreamliner outsourcing idea that has predictably led to delay after delay, not to mention the transfer of knowledge to competitors. However all along I was also rooting for them, especially when it appeared they learned their lesson, as a stronger, smarter Boeing meant more North American jobs. Good jobs.
So now that they've decided to build a new full assembly operation in the U.S. who decides to attack them? The U.S. government no less.
On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Boeing, seeking to prevent the aircraft manufacturer from opening a second production facility in Charleston, South Carolina for its new 787 Dreamliner.
The NLRB alleges that Boeing violated the law, opening the non-unionized South Carolina plant in retaliation against union workers for past strikes at its facility in Everett, Washington and also as part of an effort to discourage future strikes. The NLRB wants an administrative court to force Boeing to relocate its second production line back to a unionized plant in Washington.
Seriously? How blatant can this administration get in pandering to its donors? There's even already settled Supreme Court level decisions on this.
Boeing's lawyers slammed that claim as "legally frivolous" and said the NLRB's effort to restrict the company's business represents a "radical departure" from precedent. They were quick to point out two 1965 Supreme Court cases affirming employers' right to consider potential strikes in making business decisions, and they refuted the union's claims of intimidation by pointing out that in the eighteen months since the announcement of the South Carolina plant, Boeing has added more than 2,000 union jobs in the Puget Sound area.
Senator Lindsey Graham called the NLRB's complaint "one of the worst cases of unelected bureaucrats doing the bidding of special interest groups that I've ever seen."
On the other side, the International Association of Machinists District 571, which filed the grievance in March of last year, predictably hailed the filing as "a victory for all American workers."
Well "all" with the exception of those workers in South Carolina. I guess they don't matter as much since they don't contribute to certain coffers.
I don't know, my friends. One of the nation's few remaining exporters of high-value manufactured products, employing tens of thousands of high wage people. And we're doing our best to make them reconsider opening a new plant in the U.S. and perhaps instead go someplace more hospitable. Like China? Italy? Korea? Or maybe they'll follow Halliburton's lead and say screw it, pick up the whole kit and kaboodle, and move overseas. It's stunning and sad how many already are.
And then those same folks that make these inane decisions will moan and groan about jobs moving overseas, U.S. companies hiring more at their overseas facilities than their U.S. facilities, why our tax base is decreasing, why our balance of trade is shifting, and so forth.
Anyone have a mirror they'd like to send to the White House?