Carney ducks NLRB question with ‘independent agency’ defense, Gov. Nikki Haley not pleased

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney deflected a question on National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) actions against the Boeing Company in South Carolina on Wednesday, and the state’s Republican Gov. Nikki Haley isn’t pleased.

“Well, it’s obviously been in the news, so we are aware of it, but I would refer any questions about it to the NLRB because it is an independent agency, and we do not get involved in particular enforcement matters of independent agencies,” Carney said. “I don’t have a reaction to this from the President.  And I think the fact that he’s weighed in on outside issues doesn’t mean that he will weigh in on an independent agency’s enforcement action.”

At a Tuesday Chamber of Commerce press conference, Haley said the “independent agency” defense would be a “cop out” and the administration should address the issue. Now that the administration has used the “independent agency” argument, Haley told The Daily Caller she’s disappointed, comparing the president’s choice to refuse to take a stand on this issue to whether he’d ignore an independent agency misapplying Obamacare.

“Somehow I don’t think President Obama would stay silent if an independent health care agency were to enforce ObamaCare in a way he didn’t like,” Haley said in an mail to TheDC. “He’s putting politics over principle. If President Obama believes in the bedrock principle that any company in America should be free to locate its business in the state of its choice, then he should speak out against the NLRB’s lawsuit, instead of ducking for cover at the behest of his big labor union political allies.”

The NLRB is pushing a complaint against Boeing for opening a new production line in South Carolina, an addition to its previously existing facilities in Washington State. Boeing has union contracts in Washington, and attempted to work out a deal with the union before ultimately deciding to open its new plant in South Carolina. The machinists union alleges Boeing’s decision was retaliation for a 2008 strike. But, with the new plant, no Washington State jobs are lost and nothing changes for the union or its members there. The NLRB calls Boeing’s actions “illegal activity.”

On Wednesday morning, President Obama’s Export Council chairman Jim McNerney, whose also the president and CEO of Boeing, bashed the NLRB’s actions. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, has alleged that, if the NLRB succeeds in its complaints against Boeing, McNerney and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, who was on Boeing’s board of directors and voted in favor of opening the new plant in South Carolina, would be in “violation of the law.”

Daley has not commented on the matter at all yet.