Earlier this week, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) – a powerful union in the US – filed a charge with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA).
The IAM is unhappy that Boeing plans to move a second production line for the 787 Dreamliner to a non-union facility in the state of South Carolina.
Subsequently, the Acting General Counsel of the NLRB has issued a complaint against Boeing.
He alleges that Boeing’s decision was made to “retaliate against union employees for participating in past strikes and to chill future strike activity, which is protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
Not everyone sees it this way, however, and some charge the IAM with filing a frivolous complaint, infringing on a company’s right to expand to other US states, and delaying the creation of thousands of jobs in South Carolina.
Moreover, this complaint comes after Boeing already made the announcement in 2009 and poured billions of dollars into constructing a production facility in South Carolina.
The following are reactions against this move.
Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina, in a WSJ op-ed:
“In choosing to manufacture in my state, Boeing was exercising its right as a free enterprise in a free nation to conduct business wherever it believed would best serve both the bottom line and the employees of its company. This is not a novel or complicated idea. It's called capitalism.
But, as is often the case, a win for people and businesses is a loss for the labor unions, which rely on coercion, bullying and undue political influence to stay afloat.”
The actions by the NLRB are… an unprecedented attack on an iconic American company that is being told by the federal government -- which seems to regard its authority as endless -- where and how to build airplanes.”
Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina, said:
“The NLRB is doing the bidding of the unions at great cost to South Carolina and our nation’s economy…If successful, the NLRB complaint would allow unions to hold a virtual ‘veto’ over business decisions.”
As of Friday, nine state attorneys general have said they want the NLRB to drop the complaint.