The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has agreed to drop its lawsuit against Boeing, in which it had accused the aircraft maker of “violating federal labor law” by daring to open an aircraft production plant in South Carolina (a Right to Work state).
Some would view this as a victory. However, as is usually the case, these victories never come without a price. What did it cost Boeing?
“On Wednesday night, the union announced that 74 percent of its 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington State had voted to ratify a four-year contract extension that includes substantial raises, unusual job security provisions and a commitment by Boeing to expand aircraft production in the Puget Sound area,” reports the New York Times.
“The case was always about the loss of future jobs in the Seattle area,” said Lafe Solomon, the NLRB’s acting general counsel, in regards to dropping the lawsuit against Boeing. “This agreement has resolved that issue. There is job security in the Washington area.”
So, all they wanted was “job security” and for that they were willing to threaten a major lawsuit against the company for expanding?
“When I first read the NYT headline, I cheered. But the NLRB’s decision is actually somewhat of a mixed blessing,” writes Tina Korbe of Hotair.
“Just the threat of the case was clearly a powerful tool in the union’s negotiation of its contract renewal. Note that Boeing has agreed to expand aircraft production in the Puget Sound Area. That’s probably a sound business decision in the current climate: Better to agree to expand production in a state beset with union strife than to have to face a hostile NLRB.”
Considering how this case went down, though, you might want to be prepared to see this tactic repeated again and again. It seems to have worked this time and there is little reason to think that it won’t work again.
“If there was still any lingering doubt that the Obama administration was in the back pocket of unions, that should end today,” writes Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner.
A lawsuit that was brought at the behest of the union is now ended at the behest of the union.
While some people will now like to forget this whole episode, it’s important to remember what happened here. As I noted last week, this has all the characteristics of a shake down. The South Carolina factory that was at the center of this case — that we were told represented an illegal retaliation against the union — still remains open. But Boeing has agreed to build another airplane model at a unionized factory in Washington state and to offer the union a raft of salary and benefit increases. The union got paid, so now the Obama administration can withdraw its lawsuit. Talk about Gangster Government.
Of course, as would be expected from a professional mega-corporation, Boeing publicly applauded the NLRB’s decision to drop that lawsuit.
“We have maintained from the outset that the complaint was without merit and that the best course of action would be for it to be dropped,” said Tim Neal, a Boeing spokesman. “Today that happened. Boeing is grateful for the overwhelming support we received from across the country to vigorously contest this complaint and support the legitimate rights of businesses to make business decisions.”
But here’s the thing: although the NLRB dropped the lawsuit, they were still able to use it to squeeze an increase in benefits and salaries out of Boeing.
“Gangster government” indeed.
But wait! There’s one more takeaway from this whole ordeal. Miss Korbe of Hotair explains:
…this could make it easier for the NLRB to follow through with its plans to institute snap elections and other disastrous policies. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would block any Obama nominee to the NLRB as long as the Board pursued the case against Boeing. Now that the NLRB has dropped the case, Republican opposition to new nominees might not be as unwavering. An NLRB filled with Obama appointees would be even more biased toward unions than the Board we have now.
Indeed, as the 2012 election quickly approaches, it might benefit the GOP presidential hopefuls to consider the lessons learned from this ordeal. Perhaps if one enterprising candidate makes a strong case against the union biased NLRB, he (or she) could easily secure the GOP nomination.
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