Boeing and Obama’s Union Masters

Stung by defeats in Wisconsin and Ohio, the unions are frantic to make someone pay, notes the Washington Examiner. The International Association of Machinists refused a long-term no-strike clause, so Boeing decided to locate in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, to build its 787 Dreamliner.

At issue is whether Boeing violated labor laws when it explained to the union that frequent work stoppages in the past were a contributing factor. Obama’s National Labor Relations Board Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon thinks it is, though this is an…ahem…stretch. Two 1965 Supreme Court cases have upheld the right of business owners to make business decisions largely unfettered. One of them, Textile Workers Union v. Darlington Manufacturing Company, held that:

1. It is not an unfair labor practice for an employer to close his entire business, even if the closing is due to anti-union animus. Pp. 380 U. S. 269-274.

2. Closing part of a business is an unfair labor practice under § 8(a)(3) of the Act if the purpose is to discourage unionism in any of the employer’s remaining plants and if the employer may reasonably have foreseen such effect. Pp. 380 U. S. 274-275.

Number one is clear enough. Number two can applied to the Boeing case only by holding that virtually anything discouraging unions is off-limits. For one thing, employment at the Puget Sound plant where the complaint originated, actually went up by 2000 employees. For another, Boeing did not close a plant, it merely chose to locate a new plant elsewhere.

As The Examiner notes, a ruling in favor of Obama’s NLRB would make it presumptively illegal for any unionized firm to invest in a right-to-work state. Obama can only have one motive–to choke out any resistance to union power. As the country at large wakes up more and more to the abuses of unions and their political allies, Obama and his minions seem bent on giving them weapons of mass economic destruction. Is our President merely out of touch or does he really want to drag us further into the hellhole of collectivism?

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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