Lawmakers Weigh in on Boeing-Union Battle

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WASHINGTON -- A major battle between unions and business is brewing in South Carolina.

The issue -- can a company open a factory wherever it wants to? Officials appointed by President Obama are opposed to that idea.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has called those officials "pro-labor cronies" who are standing in the way of creating new jobs.

Boeing has been doing business in the pro-union state of Washington for years. Then it decided to build a $750 million factory in South Carolina, where workers don't have to be part of a union.

That fact led to complaints from the machinists union that Boeing moved south as punishment for past strikes in Washington.

"A company can make a decision to locate wherever it wants but it can not retaliate against workers for exercising their legal rights," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said.

The union complained to the federal government and now the National Labor Relations Board is suing to prevent the move.

"We're about freedom in this country. Since when does Washington have the ability to tell a company that it can't go and open up an expansion facility in a state it so chooses?" House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., asked

"I thought that was the owners and shareholders and investors of the company that make those decisions as well as the board, not Washington," he said.

Boeing calls it a business decision and not one union employee lost their job because of the move.

DeMint said the NLRB is supposed to protect the rights of all workers, but wonders about its role under the current administration.

"President Obama has stocked this board with union cronies," he told CBN News.

The South Carolina senator points to NLRB official Craig Becker as an example. Becker has strong union ties, wasn't confirmed by the Senate, and only got his position when Obama appointed him during a congressional recess.

"It is a very unaccountable board. It's supposed to be independent but it's really an arm of the administration doing its bidding for the unions under the guise of being independent," DeMint said.

In the Boeing matter, DeMint has filed a Freedom of Information request to investigate what kind of communications took place between the White House, the machinists union, and the NLRB.

"This appears to be an attempt by the administration, by the unions to intimidate an American company and I would very much like to see what kind of conversations they've had," DeMint told CBN News.

Conservatives call this a classic example of government operating beyond its bounds.

"It goes to a larger issue. It goes to this idea that the Obama administration has these tentacles that cover all aspects of our lives," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said.

Those tentacles have reached South Carolina as the future of the Boeing plant in Charleston remains up in the air.

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at