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Question of the Week: Should a Pro-Union Federal Panel Dictate Manufacturing Practices?
Washington, D.C., Jun 16, 2011 -
On April 20, the National Labor Relations Board filed a 10-page complaint against Boeing for its decision to locate a new assembly plant for the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina. Like the Commonwealth of Virginia, South Carolina is a "right-to-work" state where individual employees can join unions voluntarily, but unions cannot force membership across entire worksites. The complaint alleges that the plant's location in South Carolina represented illegal retaliation against employees belonging to the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) that comprise the majority of the workforce of Boeing's main Seattle, Washington plant. IAM had gone on strike four times from 1989-2008, with the most recent 2008 strike lasting almost two months and costing the company nearly $100 million a day in deferred revenue. Boeing has hired nearly 1,000 new employees in its new South Carolina plant and has invested $2 billion in the project; the company argues that all jobs in South Carolina are new and not a single Washington State union member has lost a job as a result of the action. Now, the NLRB is seeking a judicial order for the company to shift all production of the 787 Dreamliner commercial jets to its main facility in Seattle. The New York Times called the suit “the strongest signal yet of the new pro-labor orientation of the National Labor Relationship Board under President Obama” and critics of the suit argue that "it would make it effectively impossible for U.S. companies to choose to open new facilities in right-to-work states if they are currently located in a state that allows forced unionization."
Question of the Week: Are you concerned that the NLRB's lawsuit against Boeing will prevent other manufacturing companies from locating facilities in right-to-work states in the future, limiting job creation in states that do not force unionization?