- The Washington Times - Friday, June 17, 2011

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — At a congressional hearing here Friday, South Carolina officials slammed the Obama administration and the National Labor Relations Board for a federal lawsuit that could cost the state a new $750 million Boeing 787 jet assembly plant and thousands of jobs.

Gov. Nikki Haley, who with 15 other GOP governors has asked that the suit be dismissed, called the complaint “an attack on our employers trying to keep business in America.”

“I never thought the president and his appointees at the NLRB would be one of the biggest opponents we have (to creating jobs),” the first-term governor, a tea party favorite elected last fall, said Friday.

The manufacturing plant, which opened last week, is the single largest industrial investment in the history of South Carolina, but the NLRB alleges the aerospace giant placed the line in the “right-to-work” Southern state specifically to retaliate against union workers in Washington state who went on strike in 2008.

The NLRB wants the jobs returned, despite the fact the company has added, it says, more than 3,000 jobs in Everett, Washington.

“Boeing has every right to manufacture planes in South Carolina, or anywhere else, for that matter, as long as those decisions are based on legitimate business considerations,” Lafe Solomon, the agency’s acting general counsel, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Relations meeting.

“These are difficult economic times, and I truly regret the anxiety this has caused,” but the lawsuit is intended to protect the rights of workers across the country, he said.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said the NLRB and the Obama administration are “paralyzing the nation’s economy” by interfering with how corporations make decisions on capital investments.

Mr. Solomon told the panel’s Republican chairman, Darrell Issa of California, that the White House played no role in his decision to bring the complaint.

• This article is based in part on wire reports.

• Tim Devaney can be reached at tdevaney@washingtontimes.com.

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