Two of America’s most aggressive, influential labor unions are reportedly targeting South Carolina in the wake of the state landing global aircraft manufacturer Boeing last month.
Sources tell FITS that both the International Association of Machinists and the United Steelworkers of America – two powerful unions with a history of collaborative efforts against Boeing – have set their sights on the Palmetto State. The unions have also reportedly received some inspiration in their efforts thanks to comments made by Otis “Otie” Rawl, head of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce.
If true, this would be the second time Rawl’s tongue has gotten him into trouble recently, as Sen. Hugh Leatherman is said to have administered a stinging rebuke to the Chamber after Rawl spilled the beans about South Carolina’s deal with Boeing to a newspaper in Seattle, Washington.
One business leader specifically remarked how some of Rawl’s more aggressive “anti-union” comments had “put South Carolina on (organized labor’s) radar.”
That would certainly explain why Boeing was so adamant that state officials not reference “unions” or “union-related” considerations in the hoopla that followed the company’s decision to come to the Palmetto State. After all, it was trouble with the Machinists’ union in particular that many in Washington State blame for that state losing out on the project.
Boeing announced on October 28 that it would locate its second 787 Dreamliner final assembly facility in North Charleston, S.C. – a decision that could be worth as many as 12,000 jobs to the South Carolina economy.
The state offered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of incentives to land the company, a package some critics have blasted as a “Bailout for Boeing.”
One of the primary reasons behind Boeing’s decision was South Carolina’s right-to-work laws, which prevent agreements between organized labor groups and employers to make membership in a union – or payment of union dues – a condition of employment.