COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | DANE CHAPIN

Unions before country?

Once again, to the extreme detriment of the economy and country, President Obama has unambiguously demonstrated that he is more interested in perpetuating unbridled union power than buttressing American competitiveness. Why else would he tell one of America's greatest company's and most important strategic corporate assets where and how to build jets.

The National Labor Relations Board, now controlled by Obama appointees, is attempting to shoot down the Boeing plan to open a second assembly line to build the 787 in the right-to-work state of South Carolina. The NLRB alleges that Boeing is building the plant in South Carolina as "retaliation" to punish union workers in Washington state for past strikes.

Whether it is retaliation, competitive imperativeness, or a solar flare, shouldn't Boeing be able to build commercial jetliners in a place of their choosing? Mindful of crippling billion-dollar work stoppages that have grounded the company in the past, might management have come to the conclusion that they were better off building planes in a place where they wouldn't have to be held hostage to the whims of its work force. Could it be that Boeing did the math and determined that it can more cheaply and reliably build jets with non-union labor -- an absolute must in today's dog-eat-dog global marketplace for jet airplanes.

It is a bygone era in which Boeing owned the skies and had first-class profit-margin legroom to allow for a fully unionized workforce. In addition to Airbus, Boeing now has Bombardier and Embraer nipping at its wings. And t won't be long before the Chinese have a jetliner vying for a piece of the global market, too. Or, worse yet, if this administration continues to overstep its bounds, as it has on so many matters of national importance, we may wake up to find Boeing building jets in Beijing.

It is nothing short of astonishing to think that our president is aggressively working to impede Boeing's ability to self-determine which American citizens are best suited and situated to build its products. Sounds akin to a centrally planned economy to me. Wasn't that business model deemed permanently non-airworthy with the falling of the Berlin Wall?

Obama's unabashed appeasement of labor unions is costing the country hundreds of billions, significantly adding to our growing government debt and undermining global competitiveness in an ever-flattening world. In cozy and corrupt collusion with the very unions that help pave the perpetuation of his own political power, is it really any wonder that the Obama economy remains hopelessly anemic with 9 percent-plus unemployment?

There has been no shortage of Obama actions and inactions during his presidency that clearly define how his love of country pales in comparison to his fealty to the unions.

Fortunately, with quadrennial national elections in the not to distant future, the electorate will soon have the opportunity to vest or veto Obama's guiding manifesto that implies Americans with union cards are somehow more worthy of a bigger paycheck. If he is vested, you can be certain that more severe economic turbulence will befall our Union.


Chapin is CEO of USAOPOLY, partner of Zephyr Partners and chairman of Health Savings Associates.

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eddie york 3:59pm June 23, 2011

Boeing has annual Sales of approximately $70 Billion dollars (www.boeing.com) with 159,000 Employees in 70 Countries Worldwide. Boeing could manufacture on any Continent on the face of the earth.Boeing’s Commercial Aircraft has approximately $35 Billion Dollars in annual Sales with approximately 70 Nations Worldwide. I observe comments in the News proclaiming that Boeing is “Given” contracts from the US Government. Well…all I can say is that Boeing has worked hard for & earned every dollar of every contract it has received from the US Government. The NLRB and Obama and the Unions are free to do as they wish. Boeing is growing and creating thousands of New Jobs in SC……Boeing is actually succeeding at Job Creation and the Obama Administration is only TALKING about the Job Creation. Such a Hypocritical objective by Obama and the NLRB.