RIGHT-TO-WORK STATES VS. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: The attorneys general of nine right-to-work states, where workers cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment, have issued a statement condemning a wrong-headed ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that prevents Boeing from building its Dreamliner 787 in South Carolina. The states are South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. Alan Wilson, the Attorney General of South Carolina, wrote: “The only justification for the NLRB’s unprecedented retaliatory action is to aid union survival.” We could not agree more.

As we recently reported, Boeing chose to open a manufacturing facility in South Carolina because several strikes in Washington had not only significantly delayed the company’s production goals by many months, but had also cost the company tens of millions of dollars. South Carolina provides a more business friendly environment than does the state or Washington.

As a corporation operating in a free-market economy, Boeing has the right to operate a manufacturing facility wherever it wants, especially as it contributes to the welfare of its employees and to a profitable bottom line. It is an essential element of our capitalistic heritage. And we support the right of all corporations to do business wherever they want, not someplace chosen by the NLRB, catering to the demands of unions, such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which has applauded the NLRB’s decision.

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THE BATTLE AGAINST PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS MOVES TO NEBRASKA

From the Desk of Stephen Cabot: Following the lead of Wisconsin and Ohio, Governor David Heineman of Nebraska and Republican lawmakers have decided to rein in the ever-growing power of public sector unions. They have introduced legislation that would curtail the power of the state’s Commission of Industrial Relations, which adjudicates labor disputes. The proposed legislation would not only curtail the power of the Commission (which many view as pro-labor) to set wages and work conditions, but it would also remove its jurisdiction over retirement and healthcare benefits, especially for teachers. Not only are lawmakers dissatisfied with the Commission, but they are worried about the state’s budget deficit which is projected to be $943 million over the next two years. The Commission was created in 1947 as a result of a debilitating utility workers strike, and Nebraska became one of 31 states with commissions that adjudicate labor disputes. Governor Heineman has declared that if the reform of the Commission does not take place, he will work to generate a ballot initiative that would call for the elimination of the Commission. The ongoing efforts to increase productivity and reduce the power of public-sector unions are fast becoming one of the most important labor relations trends of the year; and if those efforts are successful, all Americans will benefit from reduced taxes and higher levels of employment.

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