The Corner

Federal Fiat

This is truly outrageous. The NLRB wants to simply order Boeing to build a factory in Washington State and not South Carolina. From the Examiner:

Can federal bureaucrats tell a private company where to build a factory?

Members of President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board think they can. In a decision that even the New York Times is describing as “highly unusual for the federal government,” Lafe Solomon, who was appointed to the board by Obama, filed a complaint on behalf of the NLRB on Wednesday seeking to force the Boeing Co. to build an assembly line in Washington state instead of South Carolina. The NLRB action stems from Boeing’s October 2009 decision to build a new factory for its new 787 Dreamliner airplane near Charleston, S.C. Boeing first sought to build the new plant near its existing facility in Puget Sound, but negotiations with the International Association of Machinists broke down when the union refused to agree to a long-term no-strike clause. The IAM had struck four times since 1989, costing Boeing at least $1.8 billion in revenue.

That’s when Boeing chose South Carolina, a right-to-work state where, unlike Washington, workers are not forced to join unions. As a result of this policy, only 6.2 percent of South Carolinians belong to unions. Construction of Boeing’s new Charleston factory is nearly complete, and the company has already hired more than 1,000 new employees, drawn mostly from within the immediate region. And back in Washington, Boeing has actually increased employment at its Puget Sound plant by 2,000 workers. But that isn’t good enough for the IAM or the Obama White House. After suffering major defeats in Wisconsin and Ohio, the labor movement is looking for a scalp. Obama’s NLRB is trying to turn Boeing into one.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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