Boeing Heats Up

The Obama administration’s effort to force Boeing to abandon its plans to manufacture aircraft in South Carolina, after it has already spent the better part of a billion dollars to build a state of the art facility there, is turning into a major political issue. Boeing isn’t backing down; the new plant opened on Friday:

Friday marked the opening of the Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly building in North Charleston, South Carolina, despite the state’s battle with the National Labor Relations Board about the company’s decision to build in South Carolina.
“The NLRB wants the jobs here transferred back to Washington State and that’s not going to happen,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson told “Opening this facility is an exclamation point.”
The $750 million facility, which finished construction six months ahead of schedule, features 642,720 square feet (roughly 10 football fields) of space and will produce three 787 Dreamliners per month.

Republicans aren’t letting the issue drop, either. The House Oversight Committee is dragging the NLRB’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, before it for a hearing on Friday.

Mr. Solomon filed the complaint against Boeing in April, siding with union members who accused the company of violating federal labor law by building a 787 jet assembly plant in South Carolina rather than Washington state. Boeing, they said, chose the new, nonunion facility to retaliate against union employees in Washington state for their past strikes. As a remedy, Mr. Solomon has proposed that Boeing be required to move the assembly line to Washington state, where 787 Dreamliners are already made.

Expect to hear a lot about this issue from the Republican presidential candidates. For a federal agency to dictate where a company can do business would radically change what has historically been considered America’s free enterprise system.