February 14, 2012

Obama To Visit Boeing Plant Friday, Formally Nominates 3 To NLRB

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- President Barack Obama on Friday will visit a Boeing Co. (BA) plant in Washington state, where last year a labor dispute erupted over concerns that the Obama administration was meddling with business decisions at an uncertain time for the economy.

The White House, in a statement Monday, said Obama will visit a union-operated Boeing plant in Everett, Wash., "where he will continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last based on American manufacturing and the importance of manufacturing imports."

His visit to the plan will come just days after unveiling a $3.8 trillion budget that was infused with populist proposals that play well with unions such as taxing the wealthy and billions in new spending to upgrade the nation's ailing infrastructure.

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board accused Boeing of trying to illegally transfer union work from a plant in Washington to a nonunion facility. That moved caused a backlash from Republicans, the business community and GOP presidential hopefuls, who said that the Obama administration was meddling in business decision.

President Obama said during the dispute that the NLRB is an independent agency, and speaking in general terms urged labor and management to come to an agreement.
The two sides settled in December of last year, with Boeing agreeing to build a retooled version of 737 Max at a union plant in Renton, Wash., rather than another state. In exchange, the union dropped opposition to

Boeing's use of a new, nonunion plant in South Carolina to assemble Dreamliners.
The plant the president is visiting is a union-operated plant where the company's new 787 Dreamliner is assembled.

The president's budget, in addition to billions in spending on roads, railways and runways, also includes money to boost spending on advanced manufacturing and programs to train high-skilled workers. Those ideas will likely play well with union workers, who also donate heavily to the president's campaign.

Separately, President Obama formally nominated Terence Francis Flynn, Sharon Block and Richard F. Griffin Jr. to be members of the NLRB. They already serve on the board, as President Obama appointed them during the Senate recess in early January.
They will need confirmation by the Senate to serve for full terms. Flynn is a Republican, while Block and Griffin are Democrats.

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