For businesses, it was the type of action they have feared from a National Labor Relations Board dominated by Democrats. For labor unions, it was the type of action they have hoped for. And for both, it may be a sign of things to come.So, apparently Boeing had the gall to state the obvious, which is that trouble with the Boeing workers' union in Washington State might have something to do with the fact that Boeing has opened a plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. At best, the case will burn up some resources - public ones, and Boeing's - in court. At worst, Boeing would actually have to move the whole operation back to Washington State, weakening a company that is a prime target for a federal bailout during our next financial crisis.
These fears and hopes were stirred this week when the labor board’s top lawyer filed a case against Boeing, seeking to force it to move airplane production from a nonunion plant in South Carolina to a unionized one in Washington State. Boeing executives had publicly said they were making the move to avoid the kind of strikes the airplane maker had repeatedly faced in Washington; Lafe Solomon, the labor board’s acting general counsel, said the company’s motive constituted illegal retaliation against workers for exercising their right to strike.
Solomon's interpretation of the law seems overzealous, and the article gives you the idea that the government will ultimately lose, but of course the law is open to interpretation. This seems to be one of those cases where the law is an ass, or a first-class doofus. If the legal principle is that choice of plant location can be inferred to be "retaliation" against a union, then any action by a firm that makes a union worse off should be retaliation. The auto industry seems to be moving en masse from the north to the south. Is that retaliation? Is it retaliation if a new firm chooses to locate in a right-to-work state?