Nikki Haley Tells Unions to Stay Out of South Carolina

Image: Nikki Haley Tells Unions to Stay Out of South Carolina

Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 10:15 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has told the United Auto Workers and other unions that they are not welcome in her state, according to The Greenville News.

Speaking at the South Carolina Automotive Summit in Greenville on Wednesday, the Republican governor "discouraged" companies from opening new plants in the Palmetto State if they hope to have a union workforce.

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"It's not something we want to see happen," she said. "We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don't want to taint the water."

Her comments came after the UAW's defeat last week when employees voted against union representation at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga, Tenn., plant — a factory seen as organized labor's best chance to expand in the South.

At the Hyatt Regency Greenville, Haley told the audience of 200 mostly auto industry executives that they should continue to fight to keep unions at bay.

"They're coming into South Carolina," she said. "They're trying. We're hearing it. The good news is it's not working. You've heard me say many times I wear heels. It's not for a fashion statement. It's because we're kicking them every day, and we'll continue to kick them."

But her anti-union statements quickly came under fire from Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who faces Haley in the gubernatorial race later this year.

Sheheen said that South Carolina should remain a right-to-work state where workers are free to decide whether to join unions or not, according to the News.

"I also think that if Ford Motor Co. wanted to bring 10,000 jobs to South Carolina, we would welcome them with open arms," he said. The UAW has represented Ford's U.S. factory workers since 1941.

Erin McKee, president of the South Carolina chapter of the AFL-CIO, also blasted Haley, saying that people in South Carolina "have the right to have good jobs, and if those are union jobs, they're union jobs."

She added, "And to keep jobs from coming here because they're union, I don't think she's representing the people."

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