President Barack Obama held a press conference at the White House on Wednesday afternoon and took questions from reporters who asked about a range of issues from the debt ceiling talks to Libya to the ATF controversy to the lawsuit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed against Boeing recently.
Mr. Obama’s response regarding the NLRB lawsuit appears as if he dodged the question, but Mr. Obama did, in fact, tell his labor supporters he was on their side just by mangling the facts of the case itself and making Boeing look like the bad guy.
I have posted a clip of the president’s response on the NLRB lawsuit against Boeing and a transcript.
(All the emphasis in transcript is mine.)
“Now you are asking specifically about one decision by the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB and this relates to Boeing. Essentially they made a finding that Boeing had not followed the law in making a decision to move a plant.”
“And it’s an independent agency going before a judge so I don’t want to get into the details of the case. I don’t know all the facts. That’s going to be up to a judge to decide.”
“But I do know this. As a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate — they have to follow the law, but that’s part of our system, and if they’re choosing to re-locate here in the United States that’s a good thing. And what I think defies common sense would be a notion that we would be shutting down a plant or laying off workers, because labor and management can’t come to a sensible agreement.”
“So my hope is that even as that even as this thing is working it’s way through, everybody steps back for a second and says, ‘look if jobs are being created here in the United States, let’s make sure we’re encouraging that.’”
“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.”
“And obviously, the airplane industry is an area where we still have a huge advantage. I want to make sure that we keep it.”
First and foremost, Boeing is not re-locating or shutting down a plant as the president would like many to think. It has been reported numerous times that the plane maker is expanding its operations into the non-union state of South Carolina.
Even, if Boeing was re-locating, the company should not be painted as the villain here either. Boeing, like any private enterprise should have the freedom to open business where it pleases, and here is where the president tried to play both sides at his press conference.
The third paragraph is interesting, because here is where President Obama gets a little confusing but plants a couple of sound bytes, so the Seattle PI with this headline:“Boeing shouldn’t have to shut down S.C. plant” and The Washington Examiner has this headline: “Obama dodges question on NLRB’s Boeing suit”
Here’s the key phrase:
“And what I think defies common sense would be a notion that we would be shutting down a plant or laying off workers, because labor and management can’t come to a sensible agreement.”
Of course, the president sneaks that phrase in there after saying, “…companies need to have the freedom to relocate — they have to follow the law, but that’s part of our system, and if they’re choosing to re-locate here in the United States that’s a good thing.”
So what exactly “defies common sense” here in Mr. Obama’s mind? Given President’s track record with coddling up to union leadership, while stomping on the private sector, it’s a safe bet he was not siding with Boeing, otherwise he would have been clearly specific that the airplane maker was indeed expanding it’s operations and creating more jobs for unemployed Americans.