Boeing and Verizon Capture Strategic Hill in Labor Wars

 

Normally most news about labor developments reflect the unwise labor policies pursued at every level of the Obama administration from the President down through the National Labor Relations Board.  It is good therefore to report that there has been some pushback on these issues which might indicate that the President might run into some serious headwinds on this issue.

The two concrete events are these.  First, yesterday, the Communications Workers of America decided to call off the strike and return to work, without a new contract.  The loss of leverage is of course the shattering defeat that I had predicted on this issue, when I wrote that in this instance Collective Bargaining = Collective Suicide.  The CWA is to be commended for coming to this realization sooner rather than later.  But the long term prospects have not changed.  The decline in landline services will lead to an inexorable decline of the number of union workers that will have jobs in the sector.  The more accommodating the CWA, the longer it will keep its members working.  The hawk strategy cannot work when everyone knows that the economics are squarely against you.

The second matter is the festering dispute over whether Boeing can open its new facilities for its Dreamliner to North Charleston.  Once again, I have made my views clear: this whole episode is Senseless in Seattle.  It represents a grievously misguided effort by Lafe Solomon, the acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, in an act of political suicide—strange how that word comes up in both cases!—that should be immediately dropped.  It is nice therefore to report that Joe Nocera writing in the New York Times takes the same position.  The tedious labor claim that one just opens up a new $750 million facility in North Charleston as retaliation against workers whose rights under existing contracts are fully respected is one of the most grotesque that I have ever heard.  It is indeed “unprecedented” in labor law annals, and represents the most dangerous threat to the ability of business to locate its facilities where it deems it best.  Nocera, who is no friend of business, described the argument as “a mind-boggling stretch.”  And he was right to call out the President for staying above this fray when he had appointed Solomon to this position.  

The President is giving a labor day speech in front of a union audience.  Lots of other people not on the invitation list will be listening to what he has to say.  

There are 8 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @oleneo65

    The Boeing plant featured in this article is in South Carolina!

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    @SteveS
    oleneo65: The Boeing plant featured in this article is in South Carolina! · Aug 23 at 9:18am

    Richard stated a North Charleston location which could be in South Carolina I believe.

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    @SteveS

    Do I quote correctly that it is “a lie that’s the last refuge of a desperate man” ? That may be true of desperate unions also but of desperate elected officials I believe it is “bad luck”!

    I always enjoy your content Richard, which I believe is sincerely defined by your intent. I myself am always enlightened.

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    @user_83937

    Indeed, North Charleston is in SC and is, in fact, the newly won District of Tea Party favorite, Tim Scott.

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    @MatthewGilley
    Stephen S.

    oleneo65: The Boeing plant featured in this article is in South Carolina! · Aug 23 at 9:18am

    Richard stated a North Charleston location which could be in South Carolina I believe. · Aug 23 at 9:54am

    It is.

    The timing of Nocera’s column is interesting. The NLRB is set to lose two members within weeks, which again takes their numbers down to two. Due to a recent Supreme Court decision, the remaining two members will not have authority to take action on behalf of the entire board and the Senate Republicans have declared that any minimally controversial nominees have a fat chance of being confirmed. Therefore, the NLRB has reportedly been churning out decisions at a feverish pace. One wonders if Nocera or others who are like minded are trying to send a message to someone that yet another anti-business nugget is the last thing anyone (especially Democrats) need right now.

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    @PaulARahe

    One thing can be predicted: Obama, in his Labor Day address, will throw down the gaunlet. In this election, he will be running on class resentment.

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    @CaptAubrey

    I cannot conceive of a greater gift for Republicans than this imbecile argument the NLRB is making. I sure hope they are driving as many naive Obama voters it seems to me they are driving to the right. Nothing says lack of leadership like a rogue agency or whatever you call this gang of Thieves at NLRB. They whined for years that the manufacturing base was dwindling…Boeing happens to be a paragon of American manufacturing. They whined for years about outsourcing jobs overseas…South Carolina is pretty different from Washington state but last time I checked…killer rabbits.

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    @DiegoSunDevil
    Capt. Aubrey: I cannot conceive of a greater gift for Republicans than this imbecile argument the NLRB is making. I sure hope they are driving as many naive Obama voters it seems to me they are driving to the right. Nothing says lack of leadership like a rogue agency or whatever you call this gang of Thieves at NLRB. They whined for years that the manufacturing base was dwindling…Boeing happens to be a paragon of American manufacturing. They whined for years about outsourcing jobs overseas…South Carolina is pretty different from Washington state but last time I checked…killer rabbits. · Aug 23 at 12:20pm

    Exactly, the message by the NLRB is, “Next time, take your jobs out of the country where we can’t regulate or harass you.”

    • #8

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