The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Could Boeing’s Fight With the NLRB Be a Big Political Issue?


The good folks at Civitas released a new poll today, contending that, “amidst the heated debate between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), 67 percent of North Carolina voters think Gov. Bev Perdue should take action to prevent the NLRB from interfering with jobs here.”

“With jobs, unemployment and the economy on everyone’s mind, voters fear that actions like those of the NLRB will only hurt the economy and mean fewer jobs,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca.

I’d say I think they’re close in their assessment but with a caveat. Indeed, the National Labor Relations Board could be a potent issue in right-to-work states. But right now, a majority of voters aren’t following the issue:

“As you may know, the National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency whose members are appointed by the President, filed suit against the Boeing Corporation saying they should not be allowed to open a new factory in neighboring South Carolina instead of in Washington state. Like North Carolina, South Carolina is a right-to-work state while Washington state is not. Are you familiar with this issue?”

Yes – 39%

No – 60%

Don’t Know – 2%

“Are you afraid the National Labor Relations Board could take similar action in North Carolina and other right to work states?”

Yes – 51%

No – 21%

Don’t Know – 28%

“Governor Nikki Haley and 15 other governors sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board asking it to dismiss its complaint against Boeing. Do you think Governor Perdue should take similar action to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from interfering in North Carolina’s job creation efforts in the future?”

Yes – 67%

No – 16%

Don’t Know – 18%

From this, at least 12 percent of North Carolinians are afraid that the NLRB could take similar action in their state, even though a moment earlier they described themselves as “not familiar with the issue.”

Again, lack of respondent familiarity doesn’t mean the NLRB issue couldn’t move votes. The Boeing fight features unelected bureaucrats dictating to businesses that they cannot move to states where labor is cheaper. As Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell observed recently, this is bad for everybody: Every major company that may be thinking about moving operations now hesitates about moving from a non-right-to-work state to a right-to-work state, since they figure they will face considerable expenses in fighting NLRB in the courts; meanwhile, businesses get even more wary about setting up operations in non-right-to-work states, because they now realize they may never get permission to leave. At a time when jobs and unemployment and economic concerns are paramount, those arguments could be potent.

Tags: Bev Purdue , Boeing , Nikki Haley , NLRB


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