The reliably liberal Washington Post editorial board ripped President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for its campaign against the Boeing Company in its Sunday column. The NLRB is trying to force Boeing to move a plant it recently built in South Carolina to Washington State. One of the many reasons Boeing says it built the plant in South Carolina, instead of its current base of operations in Washington State, is because recent machinists union strikes caused disruptions with workflow and productivity.
The unions and the NLRB claim Boeing’s decision was “retaliation.” But, as the Post’s editorial board points out on Monday morning, no jobs in Washington State were lost or compromised with Boeing’s decision. In fact, more workers were hired in both South Carolina and Washington State. “To prevail, an aggrieved party typically must show that the retaliation resulted in demotions, dismissals, wage reductions or other punitive measures,” the Post’s brass wrote. “In Boeing’s case, these reprisals are absent; the company also claims its collective bargaining agreement gives it the explicit and exclusive right to locate work where it wishes.” (Boeing cuts ribbon on $750 million South Carolina plant)
The Post also says “allegations” that Boeing is “transferring” jobs out of Washington are “unconvincing.” “The company has not cut jobs in Washington, nor has it demoted or slashed the wages of union workers,” the Post editorial board wrote. “Boeing has added about 3,000 — albeit temporary — jobs in Washington since it announced its South Carolina plans and says it is likely to add more to keep up with demand for its commercial airliners.”
So, what’s the Post editorial board’s key takeaway from this? It thinks Boeing is right, and the NLRB is wrong. “Employers who engage in unfair labor practices should be penalized,” they wrote. “But the NLRB’s move goes too far and would undermine a company’s ability to consider all legitimate factors — including potential work disruptions — when making plans. It also substitutes the government’s judgment for that of the company. This is neither good law nor good business.”