Obama’s Silence on Boeing Is Unacceptable
The president’s appointees have moved to block the company from building planes in my state. He owes us an explanation.
By NIKKI HALEY
In October 2009, Boeing, long one of the best corporations in America, made an announcement that changed the economic outlook of South Carolina forever: The company’s second line of 787 Dreamliners would be produced in North Charleston.
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.
Boeing has since poured billions of dollars into a new, state-of-the art facility in South Carolina’s picturesque Low Country along the Atlantic coast. It has created thousands of good jobs and joined the long tradition of distinguished and employee-friendly corporations that have found a home, and a partner, in the Palmetto State.
This a win-win for South Carolina, for Boeing, and for the global clients who will see Dreamliners rolling off the North Charleston line at the rate of 10 a month, starting with the first one next year. 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.
South Carolina is a right-to-work state, and we’re proud that within our borders workers cannot be required to join a labor union as a condition of employment. We don’t need unions playing middlemen between our companies and our employees. We don’t want them forcefully inserted into our promising business climate. And we will not stand for them intimidating South Carolinians.
That is apparently too much for President Obama and his union-beholden appointees at the National Labor Relations Board, who have asked the courts to intervene and force Boeing to stop production in South Carolina. The NLRB wants Boeing to produce the planes only in Washington state, where its workers must belong to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Let’s be clear: Boeing is a great corporate citizen in Washington and in South Carolina. The company chose to come to our state because the cost of doing business is low, our job training and work force are strong, and our ports are tremendous. The fact that we are a right-to-work state is an added bonus.
The actions by the NLRB are nothing less than a direct assault on the 22 right-to-work states across America. They are also 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.
The president has been silent since his hand-selected NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon, who has not yet been confirmed by the United States Senate as required by law, chose to engage in economic warfare on behalf of the unions last week.
While silence in this case can be assumed to mean consent, President Obama’s silence is not acceptable—not to me, and certainly not to the millions of South Carolinians who are rightly aghast at the thought of the greatest economic development success our state has seen in decades being ripped away by federal bureaucrats who appear to be little more than union puppets.
This is not just a South Carolina issue, and President Obama owes the people of our country a response. If they get away with this government-dictated economic larceny, the unions won’t stop in our state.
The nation deserves an explanation as to why the president’s appointees are doing the machinist union’s dirty work on the backs of the businesses and workers of South Carolina.
Ms. Haley, a Republican, is governor of South Carolina.