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Latest News - May 2011

May 11, 2011
Obama's 'union busters'
Source: Post and Courier

Bill Daley used to be a big shot at Boeing as a member of its board of directors. Now he's a big shot at the White House as President Obama's chief of staff.

James McNerney is still the biggest of shots at Boeing as its president. Now he's a big shot in the Obama administration as chairman of its Export Council.

How could pro-labor President Obama choose for high-ranking White House positions powerful officials from a company that, according to the National Labor Relations Board complaint, violated federal law by making "coercive statements" against a union in Washington state?

Boeing officials cited the availability of a non-union work force as a major factor in their business decision to open a 787 Dreamliner Assembly plant in North Charleston. In light of the five strikes that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have called against Boeing since 1977, that seems a reasonable consideration -- and statement of the obvious.

Yet the NLRB complaint, filed April 20, alleges that Boeing engaged in "illegal activity" by making those statements -- and that decision to open a plant here. The federal agency "seeks an order that would require Boeing to maintain the second production line in Washington state."

Boeing's legal team brands the complaint "frivolous." Assorted elected officials agree.

But again, if the folks at the NLRB really believe Boeing violated federal law, why is the Boeing president leading the White House's Export Council and why is a former Boeing board member serving as President Obama's chief of staff?

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., raised that pertinent question Tuesday in Washington during a joint news conference with other elected officials who decried the NLRB complaint. Sen. Graham expressed mock concern that the administration had allied itself with "union busters."

Then he got serious: "One would have to assume that the vetters at the White House understood that there was a complaint being filed against Mr. Daley's actions as a board member [for Boeing] and they had to conclude there was no merit to it."

The same logic applies to President Obama's choice of Boeing President McNerney.

Sen. Graham was joined at Tuesday's show of political force by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). The lawmakers called on the president to rescind his NLRB recess appointments of Mr. Solomon and Craig Becker. The governor pledged to "stand with any governor nationwide" who experiences a similar NLRB assault on the right of non-union workers to work.

And we call on the president to consult his esteemed colleagues Mr. Daley and Mr. McNerney for insight on how businesses make practical -- and legal -- business decisions.



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