In 2011, Boeing decided to move a second production line from Washington State to South Carolina. Sounds like typical business practice unless you’re one of the workers at the plant in Washington State and heard that they are moving the production line from a unionized plant to a non-union plant. In many interviews, Boeing CEO has also said they are moving the production line specifically because they do not want to deal with strikes. This is where things get a little more difficult but you must look at all the sides. Can Boeing move their production line on the mention grounds? Can Boeing’s unionized employees continue to strike? Should the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act be passed?
Does Boeing have the right to move their production lines from state to state or to anywhere they would like? Yes, they do. As a capitalist country, a company can do just about whatever they choose. Although, under Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, an employer may not do anything that would coerce or interfere with their employees’ right to unionize or strike. Boeing employees and the National Labor Relations Board stated that by moving the production line based on the grounds of the Washington State plant being unionized and being prone to strike was unconstitutional.
Under Section 13 of the National Labor Relations Act, unions are guaranteed their right to strike. Not only does this mean that unions and those employees are legally allowed to strike, it means that employers cannot retaliate against them for those actions. This just solidifies employees’ abilities to be able to strike and is just one more reason why Boeing should not be able to move their productions lines based on their given motives.
The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act was introduced in mid-2011 to try to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from being able to take extreme actions like it was trying to do with the Boeing case. The law would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from ordering any employer close, relocate, or transfer employment for any reason. This would prevent the NLRB from almost any sort of actions against Boeing and really hamper the power the NLRB has.
I think the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act was a little too broad and quickly written. I think that in certain circumstances and written a little differently it could have worked. But with the ideas that our nation runs on, I don’t think that it could work. I believe that the government should not interfere when it comes to private businesses, outside of helping protect the rights of their employees.
All-in-all, I do not think the idea of moving the Boeing production line is wrong. A company should be able to move their company and pieces to wherever they choose. Unfortunately they did not do the proper research as to why they were moving it and they did not set proper expectations with the move.
This post is part of the MBA series. I started my MBA in April of 2017 and decided to get the full use out of some of my writing by also posting it on my blog.