Jobs, Jobs, But Only If They’re Union

Great column today in the NYT by Joe Nocera. I sometimes disagree with Nocera, as when he famously called Tea Partiers who objected to raising the debt ceiling “terrorists” (yet later apologized for it). But I loved his piece two years ago on the utter absurdity that is the U.S. Postal Service.

Now he has drawn more attention to an absolute outrage — the chicanery emanating from the National Labor Relations Board in the matter of Boeing. If you want a refresher on my views, see a post I did in June.

Essentially, Nocera makes the indisputable point that the Obama administration is standing in the way of job creation in South Carolina in order to appease organized labor back in the state of Washington. Could someone explain how this is helpful to the economy?

I know. Both political parties accuse the other of lacking ideas in the area of job creation, because — frankly — no one really seems to know what to do to get this economy moving again. Contrary to Republican dogma, Obama can counter the claim that tax increases kill jobs. After all, look to other vibrant economic eras that saw robust growth in spite of significant tax increases.

But here is an example of an American corporation that wants to invest billions of dollars in this country’s manufacturing sector. And there is simply no way to get around the fact that the actions of the NLRB are designed to punish a right-to-work state and reward big labor in another state. And the cost? Thousands of jobs, Mr. President! Don’t you get it? Or don’t you care?

The headline on Nocera’s column linked on RCP says it all: “The Boeing Case Should Embarrass Democrats.”

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  • bask

    I think he thinks bullying Boeing will work. At some point Boeing will move the jobs overseas and then we lose. If they do not move the jobs overseas then their lunch will get eaten by a competitor.

  • Terry Cowgill

    I think the bullying might have the reverse effect — sending Boeing overseas. After all, who wants to do business here and get bullied by the NLRB?

  • Fred Baumgarten

    I read recently that Stella D'Oro cookies shut down their Bronx plant and moved to some place else, after their workers went on strike. Not sure why NLRB didn't go after them, too, but I'll never eat another Stella D'Oro cookie again. Of course, their strategy is retribution for union employees who won't get in line, i.e., take the hit for corporate greed. And the same thing applies to Boeing.It's funny that you talk about what's "good for the economy," when offshoring jobs (i.e., virtual slave labor) is what has effectively turned our economy into the empty shell that it is. (And "to Boeing or not to Boeing" is not the question; our manufacturing economy is not coming back, period.) What these companies are doing now is really just "domestic offshoring." In fact, it's what drives living wages down into the dirt, erodes the standard of living, increases the gross inequality, and as a result further reduces our economy to ashes.Besides, the question is not "What's good for our economy," but "What's good for our people." The answer would be not stripping labor of its dignity and respect, but giving people better lives with better jobs.

  • Terry Cowgill

    Hmmm … don't you think what's good for the economy is, on some level, good for the people? How can the people prosper without a thriving economy? "Giving people better lives with better jobs" depends on it.Read the article, Fred. What Boeing did was legal. Company officials did not move jobs to a low-wage state in "retribution" for anything. They started a new plant in South Carolina while preserving existing union jobs in the state of Washington. Don't you see how organized labor is at cross-purposes with itself? In the wake of this fiasco, what kind of company will want to build a factory in a union state if it faces retaliation for building a second plant in a non-union state?This is harassment pure and simple. On a moral level, it's no better than firing workers for striking.

  • Terry Cowgill

    Oh, and Fred, you'll probably like my upcoming column for CTNJ on Gov. Malloy's practice of bribing corporations to stay in Connecticut. I'll post a link here tomorrow or Saturday.