But in fact, what the NLRB is doing is using a labor grievance as an excuse to interfere with a corporation’s right to build plants were it wants, and a Boeing executive is correct when he says that the NLRB complaint is “legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent.” A corporation certainly has the right to consider whether or not strikes will occur that interfere with production, when making a decision where to operate. Since Boeing is not closing the Washington plant, and is actually hiring more workers there, it is hardly a case of workers losing jobs when a new plant is built elsewhere.
Indeed, it marks a new departure in the corporatist and statist policy of the Obama administration. For the first time, a government board dominated by pro-union appointees is being empowered to tell a private corporation where to build a new factory. The NLRB decision, as an editorial in The Examiner points out, violated the existing Boeing agreement with the IAM that allows the firm to build in other areas.
Boeing must have been stunned at the NLRB’s complaint. The truth is, as Timothy P. Carney writes, the Obama administration has actually subsidized Boeing with $15 billion in loan guarantees the past two years! The corporation is a defense industry standard-bearer, which has relied over the years on the support of big government, and has itself delivered major campaign contributions to the Obama campaign during the 2008 race. John Podesta’s firm was itself a lobbyist for the company, as were other Democratic Party representatives, including Obama fundraiser Tony Podesta.
Evidently the money given by the government to Boeing in contracts, Export-Import Bank loans and the like is not as valuable to the administration now as using its power to placate the AFL-CIO and the IAM, which gives almost all of its contributions to Democrats, and hardly any to Republicans. A new election is looming, and the administration needs those union workers to get out the vote, man the phone banks and take to the streets in the forthcoming campaign. If labor feels betrayed, and does not get its troops out as it did in 2008, the Republicans could well win the election, no matter whom they finally choose as a candidate.
So no matter that Boeing has benefited mightily in the past from government support and backing. They are about to learn that what government gives, it can take away at a moment’s notice. Now, the administration has decided it is labor’s turn to benefit from the corporate state, and the company be damned. How Boeing must miss the days when Henry “Scoop” Jackson was senator, and managed to be supported by both organized labor and Boeing.
It’s no secret why Boeing now wants to open a new plant in another state, one more friendly to business and in which the chance of strikes would be slim. What corporation executive wouldn’t want to move in that direction, especially since frequent strikes severely hurt the bottom line? A union supporter might bemoan this reality, but to prevent a firm from doing what is in its best economic interest by government edict tips labor-management relations completely to the union leader’s side, giving them an undue amount of power solely at the behest of government bureaucrats.
The real question, as columnist Kathleen Parker puts it, “is whether unions should be allowed essentially to veto where a company locates and conducts business.” The answer is no, they should not be so allowed. If they are given this as a new right, it is simply one more grand departure from the NLRB’s original mandate, and is far removed from modifying the law so that unions can be legal and workers can freely join them if they so choose.
So, the defeat of the union movement’s plan in this new campaign would be a victory for the national interest. The IAM’s goals, now backed by the NLRB complaint, are a major example of how the administration is seeking to gain leftist goals by executive fiat, rather than through collective bargaining agreements between management and labor in the private sector, where no government compulsion exists.
Once again, the AFL-CIO reveal that they too are now moribund reactionary institutions seeking to push America back from economic growth and advance. The people’s interests demand the defeat of union power.