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Basic business freedom under fire

September 26, 2011
The Journal

Unless Congress stops President Barack Obama's administration, it will have the power to tell companies where they can manufacture products - and where they cannot. Had that power been granted to previous presidents, the U.S. economy would never have grown to become the most prosperous in the world.

Obama's National Labor Relations Board has set the precedent in a situation involving the Boeing Co., one of the world's leading manufacturers of aircraft.

In order to meet demand for its new 787 Dreamliner, Boeing opened a plant in South Carolina, which is a right-to-work state. That means working men and women are free to join unions if they desire, but cannot be compelled to do so.

NLRB officials have told Boeing it cannot operate the plant in South Carolina, because of a labor dispute at a company facility in Washington state. The NLRB insists Boeing chose South Carolina rather than Washington for its new plant as a means of punishing the Washington union members.

Boeing has pointed out its decision to open a new plant was to meet growing demand. Operations at the Washington plant were not cut back. No workers there were laid off because of the South Carolina facility.

Yet the NLRB has persisted in what amounts to an attempt to punish Boeing for choosing a site where its workers cannot be forced to join unions. The company's right to determine where it will do business has been crushed by Obama's fiercely pro-union NLRB.

A move was afoot in the U.S. Senate to order the NLRB to stop its punitive campaign against Boeing. On Wednesday, half the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of such action. But because of committee rules, the 15-15 vote killed the measure.

All 14 Republican members of the panel voted to stop the NLRB. One of the committee's 16 Democrats, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, joined them. Clearly, then, restoring the right of U.S. companies to decide where they will do business has some Democrat support in the Senate. Liberal Democrat leaders should stop blocking a floor vote on the measure.



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