A Closer Look At the Boeing/NLRB Tiff

A couple of weeks ago I linked to this WSJ opinion piece about the NLRB's suit to block Boeing from opening their new 787 Dreamliner plant, written by South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. I've read all 1081 comments made by the readers of that opinion piece since I posted about Governor Haley's righteous indignation.

Some praised Governor Haley calling out President Obama for remaining silent about the actions of one of his un-confirmed recess appointees. Others blasted Governor Haley for being anti-union/anti-working man/anti-Democrat and a pro-business Republican, accusing her of collusion with big bad Boeing. Most of the latter were vehemently pro-union and couldn't even think of not toeing the union line as they've been so indoctrinated into thinking today's unions are working to “better the working man and saving the middle class” when the facts show otherwise.

In all of the 1081 comments I never saw even one mention of two of the most salient facts that should have changed at least part of the discussion.

The first: Boeing came to South Carolina over two years ago. Over two years ago. Not yesterday. Not last month. Not last year. Construction on the plant started quite some time ago and is almost complete. Both the unions and the NLRB knew that. It wasn't like it was sprung on them at the last minute.

The second: How could Governor Haley have had anything to do with the Boeing/NLRB debacle? She's only been governor since January 12th. (She did serve in the South Carolina legislature for 6 years before running for governor.) Reading many of the pro-union comments, you'd think she singlehandedly induced Boeing to stiff the unions in Washington State, burdened her fellow South Carolinians with new barely-above-minimum-wage-with-no-benefits jobs, caused Boeing to only hire 2600 new employees in their Washington Dreamliner plant, and had Boeing build their new plant during the time she's been governor.

More than one pro-union commenter tried to compare apples to oranges in regards to wages, totally ignoring the differences in the cost of living between Washington and South Carolina. Washington State ranks 35th in cost of living versus 24th for South Carolina (lower numbers are better). The rankings are based on composite 2010 data. So lower wages in a lower cost-of-living state may actually mean workers there might have more disposable income than higher wage earners in high cost-of-living states.

OK, I've gotten a little off topic, but I was trying to make a point. All the pro-union commenters kept trying to play the same old union talking points that have been played since the 1930's, and no one was buying it. More than a few of the anti-union commenters were former union members and understood the downsides of unions and union membership and how they more often than not killed jobs and the businesses providing them and wanted nothing more to do with them. As a former union member myself, I have to agree with those now anti-union brethren.