Sunday, September 18, 2011



The U.S. House voted this week to block the controversial actions of the National Labor Relations Board in attempting to block Chicago based aircraft maker Boeing, Inc. from opening a new plant in worker-friendly South Carolina instead of union-dominated Washington state, where it currently has major production facilities.

The largely Obama-appointed national labor board members, whose primary mission under law is to protect American workers and intervene in labor vs. management disputes to avoid devastating strikes, filed a lawsuit against Boeing in federal court seeking declaratory relief and monetary damages based on its allegations that the company's actions in attempting to produce the company's “dreamliner” plane in S. Carolina constitutes a “dilution” of union worker rights in Washington state contrary to law and violates Boeing's contract with the unionized workers there, prompting a fierce debate over the rights of American company's to conduct business as they seek fit and potentially pitting “right to work” states against heavily unionized ones at a time when jobs are altogether scarce to come by. It has also prompted at least one other related lawsuit by those seeking to get to the bottom of the national labor board's reasoning for taking this legal action which could have long-term and damaging repercussions to American jobs, see here.

Leaving aside the obvious that in a free Republic a company should be allowed to build wherever it seems best to them in order to make a profit, at last check a prominent feature of capitalism lest companies give up entirely risking their money to create jobs-- indeed, the fact we're even having this debate brings into question this basic premise and is a sad commentary at just how far we have become slaves of big government rather than its master-- comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of American jobs have been lost overseas already.  

Accordingly, the actions of the NLRB has seemed to some, including this organization, as particularly short-sighted, and prompted us to ponder aloud: Is the Obama Administration so hell-bent on government control and defending their union allies-- who it is no secret gave heavily to support the election of the Barack Obama in 2008 and undoubtedly will do so again in 2012-- that they would prefer to see these quality American jobs lost to overseas competition from countries whose workplace and environmental standards already place them at a competitive advantage? In other words, if we can be so blunt, would this administration, and the union bosses who support it, rather see these jobs lost to China?

Indeed, the cavalier attitude of the unions, and most worrisome, this administration, at the spectre of the loss of potentially thousands of relatively high-paying American jobs in the critical manufacturing sector is coming at a time we can ill afford it, when global competition between the American plane manufacturer and its European competitor Airbus is at a critical tipping point.

But to stand back and allow the loss of any American jobs to simply make a point and, in the most charitable view, protect union bosses cushy benefits and perks while destroying the ability of thousands of ordinary American families to make a fairly decent living seems to us distinctly un-American and to throw the baby out with the bath water.  (Apparently the union bosses would rather see the creation of no new jobs for Americans, rather than the potential loss or scaling back of any current union ones. So much for caring about all American workers, the mantra of the big unions!).  

Of course, in the less charitable view, and regarding the leadership (or lack thereof) of the White house on this matter, such conduct seems to fit a disturbing pattern of this Administration to protect its powerful political allies and special interests out of a purely crass political motive of self-preservation regardless of the broader consequences to the nation.

This, to us, is one of the dangers to our Republican form of government spoken of by Founding founder James Madison in Federalist number 10, in which he plainly warned:

It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments... These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations. By a faction, I understand [mean] a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
James Madison, Federalist no. 10

Then too, Madison continued on a related theme in Federalist 51:

It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.

James Madison, Federalist no. 51.

It seems to us, if ever a factious spirit has invaded our government, the actions of late of the National Labor Relations Board, and the Administration at whose pleasure it serves, are evidence of the destructive effects of the dangers of faction of which Madison speaks, and its ability to result in injustice and oppression to vast sectors of society in order to serve narrow interests.

Accordingly we urge the peoples' representatives in the U.S. Senate to quickly act on the House's example and pass the bill, and call on the President to promptly sign it into law.  

Even better, we call on the President to take immediate action disavowing the job-killing actions of the NLRB by ordering it to drop the suit against Boeing corporation.

It is time to put the needs of the American people for jobs ahead of the political interest of faction. jp


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