Friday, April 29, 2011

Boeing, The NLRB, Right-To-Work States & Bernanke

The NLRB's ruling against Boeing's production facilities in right-to-work South Carolina are clear evidence of government's schizophrenic attitudes toward business.

On one hand, we have Wednesday's remarks by Fed chairman Bernanke, at his press conference, that employment and economic growth are desirable objectives. His maintenance of ultra-low rates reflects his belief and hope that these, alone, will spur economic growth.

Then we have the NLRB's partisan, pro-union vote to curtail Boeing's opening of a second production line for its 787 Dreamliner in a state that doesn't require closed or union shops.

Lamar Alexander wrote a persuasive editorial just a week later explaining how, as governor, he was able to lure Nissan's plant to Tennessee, rather than neighboring Kentucky, because the former is a right-to-work state.

Alexander went further, arguing that the NLRB's Boeing decision will cause foreign and even domestic producers to see a risk that having operations in even one unionized state could subject them to capricious NLRB rulings forbidding them from doing business in any of the 23 states that are right-to-work.

Makes no sense, does it? Bernanke claiming to be holding rates low to facilitate greater economic activity and employment, while the NLRB rules to restrict employment to higher-wage states that will, consequently, employ fewer to build those 787s.

Easy money and government hand-wringing over slow employment growth are false when the same government acts to create such massive uncertainty for corporations, such as in the Boeing case. Decisions such as the NLRB's effectively abrogate corporate decisions on locating production facilities, which will necessarily affect their subsequent decisions concerning putting their companies at risk in the US to such deep and serious government intervention into their internal operations.

Perhaps Boeing's next move is to relocate the South Carolina lines in other countries.

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