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Wednesday
Jun292011

Obama Breaks Silence about Boeing v. NLRB Labor Dispute

PRNewsFoto/Continental Airlines(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama broke his silence Wednesday about the dispute between Boeing and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over a proposed plant in South Carolina.

The move by the NLRB to block Boeing's plan to move a plant to the Southern state has incited a wave of indignation from Republicans and the business community, who accuse the group of endangering jobs in an already weak economy.

The president on Wednesday put distance between his administration and the labor board stressing that it is “an independent agency.”

“We can't afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, at a time when we're competing against Germany and China and other countries that want to sell goods all around the world,” Obama said at a Wednesday’s White House press conference.

The NLRB is suing Boeing for allegedly moving part of the production of its 787 Dreamliner jet from Washington, a unionized state, to South Carolina, a right to work state, to retaliate against Washington workers for going on strike.

“As a general proposition, companies need to have the freedom to relocate -- they have to follow the law, but that's part of our system,” Obama said. “What I think defies common sense would be a notion that we would be shutting down a plant or laying off workers because labor and management can't come to a sensible agreement.

“And obviously, the air -- airplane industry is an area where we still have a huge advantage.  I want to make sure that we keep it,” the president added.

Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has spoken out against the case. The pro-business Workforce Fairness Institute called on each candidate to make their opposition to “the NLRB’s job-killing actions” a centerpiece of their campaigns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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