S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is working hard to spin the recent agreement between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists (IAM) as a win for South Carolina — and for her personally.
In Haley’s version of events, the IAM (and by extension President Barack Obama’s National Labor Relations Board) was brought to its knees thanks to her political advocacy on behalf of the aircraft manufacturer — thus protecting Boeing’s new Lowcounty, S.C. facility.
“When the feds attack a company in South Carolina they can expect us to fight back, and expect us to win,” Haley said in a statement.
But is that really how this deal went down?
Or did Boeing’s agreement with the union signal both an immediate and long-term loss for South Carolina – effectively guaranteeing that no more than 30 percent of the company’s 787 Dreamliners (and none of the company’s new 737 MAX planes) will ever be manufactured in the Palmetto State?
Last week, Haley (using her husband’s account) jumped on the Facebook page of a State Senator who had the audacity to suggest that the Boeing-NLRB should have gone to trial so as to provide “a clear judicial precedent” regarding the right of a company to locate jobs wherever it wants.
It’s sad that we need such a precedent, but such is life under our current the bipartisan socialist republic.
While S.C. Sen. Tom Davis did not criticize (or even mention) Haley in his post, within minutes the governor was writing on his Facebook wall attempting to defend the deal.
“This is a win for Boeing, a win for South Carolina, and a win for our country,” Haley wrote — only to be rebuked a few moments later by a member of former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford’s staff.
“Companies being forced to negotiate at gunpoint due to the threat of frivolous legal action by the government hardly seems like a ‘win,’” former gubernatorial researcher Daniel Layfield wrote in response to Haley’s post.
Layfield is 100 percent correct. This was a shakedown of a company that’s deeply indebted to the federal government – and at the end of the day, the company caved in a manner that is likely to adversely impact our state.
Over the weekend, though Haley’s spin machine was at it again – reaching out to The Greenville News in an effort to reassure South Carolinians that the Palmetto State was never in a position to compete for the 737 MAX project.
“This particular project (737) was never opened up for bidding, not to South Carolina or any other state,” Haley’s spokesman Rob Godfrey told the paper.
Godfrey’s statement is technically accurate.
Boeing never opened up the bidding for the 737 MAX, and even if it had – it’s likely that the company’s Renton, Washington facility would have landed the project. In fact, given the estimated $900 million in taxpayer-funded incentives that South Carolina doled out to land the Dreamliner plant, it’s not entirely clear whether that’s a bad thing …
But Haley’s rush to declare victory — and to quash the perception that South Carolina “lost out” in the recent Boeing deal — is only part-accurate.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney specifically said this summer that the company was exploring its options for the production of the 737 MAX – and that its new North Charleston facility was one of those options.
Was it at the top of the list?
No … but it was on the list, and state and local leaders were engaged on the project in an effort to land the new business.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re grateful for the aggressive posture that Haley and other state leaders adopted in response to the NLRB’s unprecedented assault on right-to-work states — but if she thinks that her sabre-rattling had anything to do with the particulars or the outcome of the Boeing-IAM deal, then she really does have snakes in her head.
Boeing cut a deal because its executives – bowing to bureaucratic bullying from Washington, D.C. – didn’t want to roll the dice with the NLRB. And the deal they cut not only rules out South Carolina for the 737 MAX, it could very well prevent the company from future expansions at its Lowcountry plant.
And just as no amount of political spin from Haley altered this process up to this point – no amount is going to change it moving forward.