An appalling misuse of the power of the federal government is unfolding in a labor dispute that pits Boeing Co. and the right-to-work state of South Carolina against union-heavy Washington state and the National Labor Relations Board.
Boeing recently opened an assembly line near Charleston, S.C., for its new 787 aircraft. That did not sit well with Big Labor in Washington state, which wanted the jobs performed by unionized workers there. So the NLRB filed a complaint against Boeing, claiming that Boeing’s decision to build in South Carolina was “retaliation” against unionized workers in Washington state for past strikes.
But as Boeing has pointed out, no unionized workers in Washington lost jobs because of its decision to build in South Carolina. In fact, Boeing has still been adding other jobs in Washington alongside the new ones it is creating in South Carolina. Neither was anyone in Washington state demoted, and no one’s wages were cut.
Even the liberal Washington Post noted in an editorial supporting Boeing: “The allegation that the company ‘transferred’ jobs out of [Washington] state is unconvincing because the jobs in South Carolina are new.”
Boeing simply chose to build its new facility in right-to-work South Carolina so that it wouldn’t have to pay the high, unionized labor costs it would face by putting all its new jobs in Washington.
But the Democrat-controlled NLRB wants to force Boeing to relocate the jobs to Washington state, leaving the workers in South Carolina high and dry.
That may please the Obama administration’s union backers, but it is not an appropriate use of the power of the NLRB. Boeing is not “retaliating” against unions. It is trying to be cost-competitive in tough times.
Sixteen governors around the country have asked that the NLRB’s unjustified complaint against Boeing be dropped and that the company be allowed to locate jobs in whatever state it wishes.
That is the right course of action.