"Can federal bureaucrats tell a private company where to build a factory?" is the question with which the Washington Examiner begins its editorial on the stunning attempt by the National Labor Relations Board to force Boeing to build an airplane with union workers in Washington state rather than in right-to-work South Carolina.
The NLRB has a press release, a "fact sheet", and a copy of the full NLRB complaint. The NLRB claims it isn't telling Boeing to fire the 1,000 workers it has already hired in South Carolina, just that Boeing must also maintain two unionized production lines in Washington State.
Boeing has its own press release vowing to vigorously contest the NLRB complaint:
"This claim is legally frivolous and represents a radical departure from both NLRB and Supreme Court precedent," said Boeing Executive Vice President and General Counsel J. Michael Luttig. "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."
The Examiner editorial doesn't mention it, but Boeing CEO W. James (Jim) McNerney, Jr. is a member of President Obama's President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and is also the chairman of the President's Export Council. Maybe Mr. McNerney will decide the best thing for his company's competitiveness is to close all his American factories and move the jobs to somewhere with a less intrusive government. Or maybe the president will decide he doesn't want an accused labor-law violator as chairman of his export council.
The NLRB complaint seems to have been brought by the board's acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, who reportedly "is a career civil servant who has worked on the NLRB for nearly 40 years, starting off as a field examiner in the early 1970s." Mr. Solomon has been "acting" since June 21, 2010, and this Boeing case should make his Senate confirmation hearing or vote, if he gets one, more interesting.