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Latest News - May 2011

May 2, 2011
NLRB suit threatens economy
By: Chip Limehouse

The headlines and rhetoric already ring from coast to coast.

"Protracted and costly legal battle that could wind its way to the U.S. Supreme Court"

"Biggest union fight in recent years"

The federal lawsuit filed by the National Labor Relations Board against Boeing claims the company moved a production facility and thousands of jobs to South Carolina to retaliate against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace worker for past strikes in Washington state.

I would suggest another headline might be more appropriate:

"Federal agency seeks to undermine national security"

It would take an optimist to say the U.S. economy is moving towards solid ground. Job growth is altering the playbook for both the Obama administration and the Republican leadership. It's not just because the unemployment rate is still nearly 9 percent, it's because the U.S. economy is in peril of slipping from a place of world prominence.

During the last State of the Union address the president admitted what's at stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else.

Steve Clemons, of the New America Foundation, admitted that "we are underperforming as a nation." India and China, he claims, are moving the needle up in terms of the quality of their intellectual capital and we are in competition with them.

A friend of mine just returned from China and stated simply that in the industrial centers where the manufacturing of so many American products is taking place, "they show the entrepreneurial spirit of this country 50-100 years ago."

In the face of two world economic powers that are growing their job base, we face a sagging economy, hemorrhaging jobs and economic future that even clings to the latest whim of nature.

In a speech earlier this month President Obama claimed that jobs are the first thing he thinks of in the morning and the last thing before going to bed each night. He might rest a little easier if he were to get the government off the back of business.

The NLRB suit seems to ignore a few key facts. One is that Boeing has created some 2,000 jobs in the Seattle area since beginning the facility to produce 787s in South Carolina. Among others: construction of the facility in North Charleston began some two years ago and is expected to create some 3,800 jobs there. The timing of this suit seems as suspicious as it is likely to be a nonstarter in South Carolina.

Sen. Lindsey Graham called it, "One of the worst examples of unelected bureaucrats doing the bidding of special interest groups that I've ever seen. Boeing is staying. It's going nowhere, just like this complaint."

Sen. Jim DeMint claims the suit will have a "chilling effect" on job growth.

If the action by the NLRB two years after Boeing's move from Seattle is a matter of sour grapes, then the NLRB might well consider where the grapes of wrath are stored. Union intransigence created the impasse with Boeing. South Carolina is one of 22 right to work states that some businesses find helpful in their competitive constructs against increasing foreign pressure.

Our place in the world is based on maintaining our place as a leader in the world market. It's reduced to the simplistic level of the first Clinton campaign directive, "It's the economy, stupid."

The argument that the NLRB's involvement in an action contrary to the basic tenets of free enterprise, contrary to rights of 22 states to engage in industry free of union involvement and contrary to Boeing's right to make business decisions based on their own process of self determination fall secondary to the threat to our economic security.

At this critical time actions that work against the creation of jobs and economic viability work against our national security.

I would challenge the board, in the spirit of Reagan, free enterprise and our national security to "tear down this wall." Stop this lawsuit.

The writer is a Republican state representative from Charleston.



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