The National Labor Relations Board, dominated by Democratic appointees, says airplane manufacturer Boeing can build a new plant in China, but not in South Carolina. The expanded plant in China will provide jobs to more than 1,000 Chinese workers.
The South Carolina plant cost $750 million to build. The plant has received incentives and tax breaks from the state that could add up to $900 million if employment reaches 5,000.
We constantly bemoan American jobs going overseas, but this is exactly the kind of situation that results in just such a job loss.
The NLRB says Boeing's decision to locate a second plant for its 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, instead of Seattle is retaliation against union workers in Seattle for periodically going on strike -- most recently in 2008 for two months. It may be that Boeing recognizes that its union workers in Seattle cost it more to build a plane. Boeing tried to negotiate a "no strike" clause in Seattle, but the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers refused to do so.
Boeing says that not only has no one lost a job in Washington state, the company has added more than 3,000 jobs at its assembly plant in Everett, Wash.
The Detroit News, quite familiar with union contracts in manufacturing plants, said: "Union workers most certainly have the right to strike, but they don't have a right to escape the consequences of striking, which is that employers may be persuaded to open up a shop elsewhere, including a right-to-work state such as South Carolina."
Boeing is in sharp competition with aircraft companies throughout the world, especially Europe's Airbus. At the Paris Air Show this week, Airbus trounced Boeing in the race to sell new jets. Airbus claimed more than $72 billion worth of orders and commitments, compared to just $22 billion for Boeing. In a competition like this, Boeing, one of our largest exporters, does not need the NLRB meddling and making the company less competitive.
Cost, a skilled labor force and timely delivery are all factors in winning a contract. Boeing and, for that matter, all U.S. manufacturers have to be free to do whatever they can to win those contracts, which will help the U.S. economy and provide jobs to American workers.
President Obama, who was quick to condemn Wisconsin's new anti-union policies, has let the economic pendulum swing too far in favor of unions. He should show some leadership on behalf of all Americans and not play politics with the economic future of the country.
Former NLRB Chairman Peter Schaumber called the complaint against Boeing "unprecedented." If the court sides with the NLRB and forces Boeing to shut down its new South Carolina plant, the NLRB will have taken on a new role in dictating where, when and how an employer can manufacture its products. In essence, such a decision would allow unions to veto the building of new plants in right-to-work states.
That would be a serious blow to free enterprise and a slap at the successes that have made America great.
America's economy is based upon free enterprise and the initiatives its private sector takes to grow and employ. It must stay that way to survive.