In December 1860, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson moved his two companies, eighty-five men total, from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter. Construction on the fort was not finished, and less than half of the cannons were available for use. Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard called for their surrender for several months, but Major Anderson ignored them. On April 12, 1861 the Confederate batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter. Shots were fired for thirty-six straight hours. On April 13 Major Anderson surrendered, and the fort was evacuated. No soldiers were killed in the battle.
In 2009 Boeing announced plans to build a new plant to meet demand for its new 787 Dreamliner in Charleston, South Carolina.
As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn’t have strikes happening every three to four years.
On Wednesday, April 20, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Boeing, seeking to prevent the aircraft manufacturer from opening a second production facility in Charleston, South Carolina for its new 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing acted out of “anti-union animus,” says the complaint by acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, and its decision to move had the effect of “discouraging membership in a labor organization” and thus violates federal law.
Here are a couple of news articles about the NLRB and Boeing, The Newest Labor War: Union Feds Attack Boeing, and Officials continue criticism of NLRB’scomplaint against Boeing. I encourage you to read both of them for details, but what caught my attention is both articles have war references in them. From the Real Clear Politics article we have
Needless to say, with labor controversy still roiling some states across the country, particularly in Wisconsin, news of the story rang out like a shot at Fort Sumter.
. The Charleston Regional Business Journal article has
Local, state and federal politicians on Thursday described the National Labor Relations Board complaint filed against Boeing Co. as frivolous, irresponsible, shameful, ludicrous, a dangerous precedent and a declaration of war.
This got me to thinking about similarities between now and 150 years earlier. The earlier conflict had to do with aristocrats in the Deep South who saw their slave plantation lifestyle disappearing. Laws had been passed that limited the number of slave states so they could not expand. Slaves were running away to the free states, and the folks in those free states were not being cooperative in returning the fugitive slaves back to their massa. These aristocrats could not import any new slaves, and they could not receive any products from anywhere but the industrial north without paying a high tariff.
Today the Right-To-Work states are comparable to the free states. The union bosses are comparable to those aristocrats in the Deep South who see their prestige and power disappearing. The numbers of dues paying union members keeps declining because folks are moving to Right-To-Work states seeking employment. Those Right-To-Work states are not being cooperative in allowing unions to get any foothold in their state. What is happening here is the US federal government has chosen to take sides and is attempting to intimidate Boeing. The side it has picked is the union side. And it plans to use its power to attempt to force a company into doing something which is not in its best business interests.
We will not allow them to come bully our businesses or mess with our employees. As governor I absolutely will not stand for it.
South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell
The NLRB has declared war on South Carolina, our hard working citizens and other right-to-work states across the nation.
Having been one of the people who negotiated the agreement with Boeing, I know that their interest was only in economics and the bottom line, this was clear from the negotiations with them. Any other things the NLRB is trying to say or imply is just plain wrong. We will introduce a resolution in the General Assembly this week reaffirming our state’s commitment to Boeing and to what a great corporate citizen we know they are in South Carolina.
US Senator Lindsay Graham
If we can’t have this complaint dismissed, I will bring legislation to defund (the NLRB).
US Senator Jim DeMint
I intend to use every tool at my disposal as a United States Senator to stop the President from carrying out this malicious act. There is no doubt that if the National Labor Relations Board’s claim against Boeing moves forward, it will have a chilling effect on job growth in my state and in right-to-work states across the country. Using the federal government as political weapon to protect union bosses at the expense of American jobs cannot be tolerated.