- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina said Wednesday the complaints of organized labor over the opening of a $750 million nonunion Boeing Co. airline assembly plant in his district were “ludicrous.”

The National Labor Relations Board has sued the aerospace giant, claiming it opened the plant in right-to-work South Carolina to punish unions in its manufacturing base of Washington state. The case has become a flash point between the NLRB, dominated by appointees of President Obama, and the business community.

“If someone was punished, at least one — one — union worker should have lost their job. But not a single union worker in Puget Sound, Washington state, has lost a job. … They’ve actually had to hire another 2,000 employees,” the freshman Republican said Wednesday on The Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News” radio program.

The dispute, the congressman said, boils down to “whether or not we are going to allow our economy to recover by letting the private sector … create jobs versus having the government do what the government has done for the last 24 months, which is to tell industry they really don’t want jobs unless they get the right jobs in the right place in the right way. That is a jobs-blocking agenda that seems to emanate from the White House.”

Meanwhile, fellow Republican Jon Huntsman, who is making a run at the White House in 2012, called on Mr. Obama to intervene during a visit to South Carolina on Wednesday.

The NLRB’s former chairman, conservative Peter C. Schaumber, told reporters on Wednesday that the president cannot force the NLRB to withdraw the complaint, but he could fire Lafe Solomon, the acting general counsel who is leading the fight against Boeing.

He said the agency has lost any sense of fairness and objectivity because Mr. Solomon isn’t concerned about the political consequences of his decisions, as he doesn’t expect to be in office very long. “I think Lafe was going to do whatever he wanted regardless,” Mr. Schaumber said.

Mr. Solomon, a career civil servant, has said in previous interviews he was simply following establishing labor law in filing the Boeing case.

The NLRB is also taking heat over its proposal to speed up the union election process. Mr. Schaumber thinks the Democrats on the board are covertly going behind the back of the lone Republican, Brian Hayes, as they make pro-union and anti-business policy decisions. The Sunshine Act requires that when three or more board members meet, the meeting should be open to the public. So he said they probably are having their staffs conduct the policy negotiations, or having just two board members meet at a time.

“What they obviously did was tippy-toe around this,” Mr. Schaumber explained.

He thinks this could be just the beginning and that the NLRB will make many more controversial decisions in the coming months and years.

“They’re going to err on the side of finding against the employer,” he said.