GOP Pols Defend Boeing's Non-union Move

Friday, 22 Apr 2011 11:15 AM

By Martin Gould

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GOP politicians have slammed a government board’s decision that Boeing was wrong to move airplane production to a non-union facility.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint led the criticism. “This is nothing more than a political favor for the unions who are supporting President Obama's re-election campaign,” he said, according to his website.

unions, boeingThe National Labor Relations Board ruled that Boeing should not have expanded production to right-to-work South Carolina rather than opening a new factory in its unionized heartland in Washington State. Boeing admitted it made the move for fear of strikes that have crippled the company in the past.

“Using the federal government as political weapon to protect union bosses at the expense of American jobs cannot be tolerated,” said DeMint. “I intend to use every tool at my disposal as a United States Senator to stop the President from carrying out this malicious act."

His South Carolina colleague in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, also attacked the move, calling it "one of the worst examples of unelected bureaucrats doing the bidding of special interest groups I’ve ever seen."

Boeing made the decision to build a new $750 million plant in North Charleston, S.C. in 2009 to meet demand for its 787 Dreamliner plane. The company has already hired 1,000 workers and the plant is due to go online in July.

But the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers claimed the company made the decision to open the new plant out of “anti-union animus” in retaliation for past strikes. Now the NLRB has backed the union.

Boeing plans to fight the ruling that any future 787 plant must be located in Washington State. General council Michael Luttig said the NLRB decision “represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent."

He added: "Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region."


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