South Carolina politicians from the local, state and federal levels stood in unison today to blast the National Labor Relation Board’s lawsuit against Boeing Co. over alleged union-busting activities.
The agency sued the company Wednesday, saying Boeing set up its 787 Dreamliner production plant in North Charleston partly to retaliate against the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers for past strikes in Washington state.
The NLRB’s complaint seeks a court order that would require Boeing to move the second assembly line to Everett, Wash., the longtime home to the company’s commercial airplane business.
Workers at the aerospace giant’s North Charleston site are not represented by the union.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the labor board was doing the bidding of a special interest group.
Graham also predicted a long legal battle, saying Boeing would prevail. He said it’s highly unlikely that the NLRB would be able to disrupt the opening of the $750 million assembly line. The plant off International Boulevard is scheduled to begin production this summer and eventually employ 3,800 workers.
“Boeing is staying. It’s going nowhere, just like this complaint,” Graham said.
Graham said he and U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, a fellow Republican from Charleston, would work to “defund” the lawsuit thought legislative measures, but he could not make any assurances that their efforts would succeed.
Also appearing at today’s news conference were Scott, Gov. Nikki Haley, S.C Rep. Bobby Harrell, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
Riley, a Democrat with ties to the Obama administration, said he already has called the White House about his concerns. He called the lawsuit “outrageous.”
Harrell said the NLRB has “declared war” against South Carolina and other right-to-work states.
Boeing has said it will fight the lawsuit and called the allegations frivolous.
For more details, see Friday’s editions of The Post and Courier.