Regulation

Is Obama Souring on the NLRB's Case against Boeing?

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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.

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  1. Even a broken clock…

    1. Seriously. He spouted a bunch of nonsense in the very next sentence.

  2. More important question: Do ales give you the shits?

    Drank more than a few at the dept bbq the other day, the next day was brutal.

    1. Thanks for sharing…

    2. Depends.

      1. Just don’t wear them to the airport…

    3. I’ve never had a problem with them. I’m more likely to get beer shits after drinking comparable lagers than ales, fwiw.

      1. I’ve heard theories about ales having more sugars and thus prompting more microbial growth, but that may just be fanciful bollocks.

        1. both ales and lagers run the entire range of residual sugar. Both have dry styles, both have sweeter styles.

          Bollocks.

          1. Yeah, I tend to agree. The brit ale I was drinking was pretty sweet though.

            1. Plumbing the secrets of the intestine is a fool’s errand. In it’s folds and crannies, a thousand mysteries can keep their own counsel.

        2. I’ve discovered that certain ales affect me that way, specifically Geary’s and Long Trail, to the point where I don’t drink either product. Both are high final gravity beers.

          Sometimes overindulging in my unfiltered homebrewed ale can have that effect, but that’s more likely because of the live yeasties.

          1. more likely == exactly

            Yeast does good things for you, but it isnt always aesthetically pleasing.

    4. Most ales in the liquor stores are filtered. If you don’t have white sediment (yeast) on the bottom of the bottle, then the beer you are drinking is filtered. Unfiltered ales give infrequent ale drinkers bloat, gas, or the squirts. Live yeast is healthy though, so you need to drink some more ales to get over that hump.

  3. This is just another example of Obama speaking out both sides of his mouth.

  4. “the president did offer this vague comment”

    Who gives a fuck what this douche bag says? He’ll be a lame-duck in just 16 months.

    1. nigger gotta go

      1. herp

  5. Obama believes the NLRB is right and will do nothing to stop them. But he also believes in never taking the blame for anything.

  6. Or it could simply be that Obama is trying to give himself cover by saying that he disagrees with the NLRB, but being that they are an “independent” agency, he cannot be blamed for their mistakes.

  7. The other reason this is complete bullshit is because TTBOMK Boeing wasn’t seeking to relocate.

    They’re weren’t closing a factory and moving it. They were leaving their existing factories open and building a NEW one.

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t NLRB made their ruling on the belief that Boeing chose to expand operations in SC in order strictly to retaliate against the WA union’s intransigence? It seems like a stretch to me, and it should be incumbent on the NLRB to prove this is the case rather than simply declaring it so and forcing Boeing to prove otherwise.

      There’s a host of reasons why Boeing would expand into SC instead of WA, from decreased price of production to using idle space, and as diversity in case of disaster or labor issues. Even if the biggest factor in expanding operations into SC was as a hedge against a labor stoppage, so what? A company shouldn’t be allowed to protect itself against a potential problem just because the solution does not directly benefit the employees that currently build the product?

      1. Re: KDN,

        It seems like a stretch to me, and it should be incumbent on the NLRB to prove this is the case rather than simply declaring it so and forcing Boeing to prove otherwise.

        How do you think that Civil Rights violations are handled? Do you really think the government can prove discrimination? That would mean the government paid-dogs can read minds. Instead, they simply assume the crime and lay the burden of proof on the defendant.

        1. Innocent until proven.. wait a minute!

  8. 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.”

    He’s pretty much telling Boeing that this isn’t that big a deal and they should just bend over and take one for the team. Or from the team.

    1. as a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate to union friendly states.

      We can’t afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, which is why the corporate jet flying CEO’s should always cave to union demands

  9. However, “as a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate,” he said.

    “As a general proposition,” sounds a lot like the really really vague “in theory…”

  10. Trying to suss out how Obama feels about any given topic based on the things he says about it is a fool’s errand.

  11. “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.”

    Where’s the unitary executive when you need it?

  12. “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.”

    Couldn’t he at least say the NLRB acted stupidly? I mean, that’s clearly within the scope of commentary he finds acceptable with regard to independent agencies.

  13. As a general proposition, I do not believe in tarring and feathering a sitting President of the United States.

    1. As a general proposition, I dont see the problem with tarring and feathers any elected official, ever.

  14. It all depends on the definition of “retaliate”. Maintaining and expanding a facility in which the workers have shown a willingness to go on strike regularly is plainly retaliation.

    1. If you’ve ever had a bad experience with a union and then take any action a union doesn’t like, you are retaliating.

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