Continued from page 1

“We’ve been upfront about the fact that one of those reasons [for the South Carolina plant] had to do with the history of strikes we have had in Puget Sound,” Boeing spokesman Tim Neale said. “We believe that legally companies are entitled to take things like labor history into account when deciding where to invest.”

Boeing was caught off guard by the complaint. The stakes are much higher now with reports circulating that the company has already invested $2 billion in a nearly completed facility.

But the NLRB said it warned Boeing of the investigation more than a year ago in March 2010.

Mr. Wszolek said the NLRB action is chilling business investment across the country. Boeing’s investment could be for naught, while suppliers who started investing in the area will also be harmed, he said.

“It’s a ‘job-destroying machine,’ ” he said, adding new uncertainty to investments in right-to-work states and, potentially, forcing American manufacturers to consider investing overseas.

In their letter to Mr. Obama last week, the 19 GOP senators demanded he withdraw his nominations of NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon and board member Craig Becker — the two men who are largely seen as responsible for the complaint.

The senators say Mr. Obama was “circumventing the will of the U.S. Senate” when he appointed both Mr. Solomon and Mr. Becker to their NLRB posts. The Senate rejected Mr. Becker’s nomination in February 2010, and never got a chance to vote on Mr. Solomon, a career NLRB attorney.

Separately, a group of attorneys general from nine states also demanded the NLRB withdraw the complaint. The initial court date for the complaint is set for June 14, but it could take months or years to resolve.

The NLRB filed its complaint against Boeing on April 20. Despite the uproar, Mr. Solomon insisted in a statement Monday that the agency was standing its ground.

“Contrary to certain public statements made in recent weeks, there is nothing remarkable or unprecedented” about the Boeing action, he said in the statement.

“The complaint involves matters of fact and law that are not unique to this case, and it was issued only after a thorough investigation in the field, a further careful review by our attorneys in Washington, and an invitation by me to the parties to present their case and discuss the possibility of a settlement.”