Gov. Nikki Haley: NLRB should be disbanded

After all she has learned about the National Labor Relations Board through her fight on behalf of The Boeing Company, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has come to one conclusion: The agency should be disbanded.

“What you have is a rogue agency that is doing the most un-American thing imaginable to our businesses,” the governor said this morning on a conference call. “And as we are looking at President Obama to give his speech on jobs, the only thing I want to hear from him, the only thing the people of this country want to hear from him is that he’s going to disband the NLRB or get them to step down from a great American company that chose to do business in South Carolina as opposed to going overseas.”

The NLRB sued Boeing for its decision to build and open a non-union 787 Dreamliner assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C., claiming the choice was made in retaliation against the company’s unionized workforce in Everett, Wash. Never mind that Boeing has since added more than 1,000 jobs in South Carolina and more than 2,000 jobs in the state of Washington.

The South Carolina governor feels so strongly that the independent agency shouldn’t exist that she would even support a decision from the lone Republican member of the NLRB to step down. With the recent departure of NLRB chairman Wilma Leibman, such a resignation from Republican Brian Hayes would reduce the board to just two members — i.e., to less than a quorum.

“Anything that would disband the NRLB, I’d be the biggest cheerleader for,” Haley said.

Hayes’ departure wouldn’t paralyze the NLRB for long, however. The board technically consists of five members and the president has already nominated Democrat Terence F. Flynn to fill one of the currently vacant seats on the board. He has yet to nominate a fifth appointee. Hayes’ resignation would render the NLRB impotent for a time, but, as soon as Flynn was confirmed, the board could again operate.

Haley also expressed disappointment with the president, who has yet to weigh in on the NLRB suit of Boeing in a substantive way.

“President Obama has to speak,” she said. “Silence is not leadership and he continues to be silent on something that impacts our entire country. … If he is very serious about jobs, he will speak and say whether he supports the NLRB or whether he opposes them. But to be silent is not leadership and is the most cowardly thing I think any leader could do.”

Haley noted that two members of the president’s administration (Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Chief of Staff Bill Daley) served on the board of Boeing at the very time that the company decided to build its Dreamliner plant in South Carolina.

“The president either needs to step up and say I made a wrong pick in my commerce secretary and my chief of staff or he needs to side with them and understand that they made the decision that they thought was best for Boeing,” she said.

The president’s silence — and his decision to replace outgoing Chairman Leibman with longstanding Democratic board member, Mark Pearce — suggests he agrees with the NLRB and supports the status quo, Haley said.

“He can’t stay silent — not at a time when the No. 1 issue in this country is jobs.”

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