The top lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board told a congressional committee Friday that while an NLRB complaint against Boeing Co. may make South Carolina workers feel vulnerable and anxious, the legal action is aimed at protecting the rights of workers everywhere.
The NLRB is suing the aeronautics giant, alleging the manufacturer located its new 787 jet assembly line in South Carolina to retaliate against union workers in Washington state who went on strike in 2008.
The congressional hearing is the latest episode in a dispute between the NLRB, which has a majority of Democratic appointees, and GOP lawmakers and Boeing. The NLRB wants that work returned to Washington state, even though the company opened its $750 million South Carolina plant last week.
"Boeing has every right to manufacture planes in South Carolina, or anywhere else, for that matter, as long as those decisions are based on legitimate business considerations," Lafe Solomon, the agency's acting general counsel, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform meeting in South Carolina.
South Carolina's Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who with 15 other GOP governors asked that the complaint be dismissed, called the complaint "an attack on our employers trying to keep business in America."
The plant represents the single largest industrial investment in the history of South Carolina, a right-to-work state.
The NLRB complaint went before a judge in Seattle earlier in the week, and Boeing asked that it be dismissed, adding it had cast a shadow over the company's employees, supplies and investments. The company said that no one has lost a job in Washington state and that Boeing has added more than 3,000 jobs at its assembly site in Everett, Wash.
Haley warned that workers across the nation could suffer if companies take business overseas.