Boeing and a Washington state union settled a dispute over a new airplane line in South Carolina on Wednesday, ending an epic fight that sucked in the Nation Labor Relations Board, DC lawmakers of all stripes, and the entire Republican presidential field.
“At a time when I don’t get much good news, this couldn’t be better,” Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (D) told the Seattle Times. The deal reportedly includes an agreement to keep thousands of jobs in Washington.
The battle was over a manufacturing line in South Carolina for the new Dreamliner plane. The Machinists union challenged that the company was moving to South Carolina, whose laws place more restrictions on unions, as retaliation against Boeing workers in Washington state for past strikes. The NLRB sided with the Machinists, leading to an apoplectic response from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), who argued that the board threatened to prevent businesses from ever moving to states with “right to work” laws.
Haley, a Tea Party favorite, just so happens to be one of the most sought-after endorsements in the 2012 presidential race. So the issue brought the Republican primary field rushing to accuse the administration of anti-business job-killing behavior. Haley says she plans on endorsing a candidate before Iowa, so how they behaved during the fight may be a prime factor in her decision.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.