The silence of the NLRB
Posted Oct 31, 2011 by Tom Jackson
Updated Oct 31, 2011 at 04:24 PM
While I join the Obama administration in applauding Boeing’s decision to open a space-venture operation on Florida’s east coast, in hangers recently vacated by NASA, the cynic in me wonders where the National Labor Relations Board is in all this.
After all, Florida—like South Carolina—is a right-to-work state. That is, membership in a union cannot be mandated as a condition of employment. The same cannot be said for Washington state, in which Boeing is headquartered. The spirit of that arrangement was behind the NLRB’s decision to file an injunction blocking the opening of a new plant north of Charleston.
Never mind that the South Carolina location meant new jobs (not transfers), new production and easier access to East Coast and Atlantic-region suppliers. NLRB regulators raised their collective eyebrow over Boeing’s silly notion that it could expand anywhere except where it would benefit organized labor. And their boss—that fellow issuing executive orders by the handful from the Oval Office—has been silent on the matter.
Now a similar arrangement—Boeing expands into a right-to-work state—is announced, and there’s President Obama, applauding to beat the band, along with Florida’s senior senator, Bill Nelson. One presumes from all this racket the NLRB will be (hypocritically) muzzled.
The difference, at a glance, may be no more than this: South Carolina is solidly Republican, solidly red. If Obama ordered the NLRB to stand down yesterday, he would have no better chance of carrying the state in next year’s election than if he allows the process to continue on its grindingly slow course. And if South Carolina replaces a senator next year, it will be only to elect a more conservative model.
Meanwhile, Florida appears to be a battleground state. Again. And nowhere are voters more swingable than on the industry-starved Space Coast. Reminding Sunshine State voters that the Obama White House likes to meddle in employment-suppression would be an unwise strategy that would have down-ticket ramifications for the vulnerable Nelson.
Just another demonstration that the only consistency emerging from the Obama White House is—from Affordable Care waivers to declarations of emergency to national security to who gets muscled by the NLRB—inconsistency. Well, that, and playing the most expedient political angle available.