Leah Barkoukis

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley didn’t mince words when she spoke about unions at an automotive conference in Greenville this week. The state loves its manufacturing jobs from BMW, Michelin and Boeing and welcomes more, she explained, but not if they’re bringing a unionized workforce with them.

“It’s not something we want to see happen,” she told The Greenville News.“ We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to taint the water.”

Haley isn’t the first South Carolina Republican to reflect the South’s traditional anti-union bias, but she’s been especially outspoken against unions inserting themselves as mediators between workers and their employers.

GOP animosity toward unions grew red-hot in South Carolina during Haley’s first year as governor after the National Labor Relations Board went to court to block the Boeing Co. from making its Dreamliner jet at a new factory in North Charleston.

The NLRB argued that Boeing had built the plant in right-to-work South Carolina in retaliation for past union strikes at the company’s Puget Sound operations but ultimately dropped the complaint.

Haley has continued to remind voters of what the agency tried to do, and did it again Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Greenville while appearing at the South Carolina Automotive Summit, an annual conference for the state’s auto industry.

She also warned auto industry executives at the conference to keep their guards up. “They’re coming into South Carolina. They’re trying,” Haley said. “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,” she continued. “It’s because we’re kicking them every day, and we’ll continue to kick them.”


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography