The New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse reports on the continuing political fallout from the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial case against Boeing, which charges the airline manufacturer with illegally retaliating against its unionized Washington state workforce by opening a new facility in South Carolina. As Greenhouse notes, President Barack Obama has kept his own view of the case largely to himself, though the president did offer this vague comment:
Facing so much heat, Mr. Obama said on Wednesday that he did not want to discuss details of the case because the N.L.R.B. was an independent agency.
However, “as a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate,” he said. “We can’t afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, at a time when we’re competing against Germany and China and other countries that want to sell goods all around the world.”
That statement could cut either way. On the one hand, Obama may believe that companies should be free to set up shop wherever they want “as a general proposition” while still believing that Boeing acted illegally in this specific case. On the other hand, when you combine the president’s words with those of Commerce Secretary-nominee John Bryson, who recently criticized the NLRB’s case against Boeing while testifying before Congress, it looks like the administration’s support for the labor board may be starting to flag.