Days after the United Auto Workers found themselves outside the gate at the Volkswagen plant in Chatanooga, Tenn., South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist have vowed to do all they can to ensure that the Southeastern United States will never see unionization in the region’s auto industry and beyond.
The Greenville News and Reuters report Norquist outlined an anti-union strategy meant to empower fellow Republicans, such as Gov. Haley, in their ongoing war with unions with the ultimate outcome resulting in lowered campaign financing for their opponents running for office.
His group, the Center for Worker Freedom, battled the UAW’s efforts to unionize the VW plant in Tennessee for nearly a year before finding victory in the worker’s rejection of representation during the National Labor Relations Board-overseen three-day election last week. In turn, Norquist is directing the group toward other targets for unionization throughout the South using rhetoric — and funding from unknown sources — to drive the point home:
Everybody who wants to steal your guns is funded by the unions. Everybody who wants to raise your taxes is funded by the unions. Everybody who wants to borrow too much money is funded by the unions. Whatever center-right issue you care about, the unions are on the other team. Unions aren’t good at anything.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Haley’s goal for labor relations in South Carolina is to head off the unionization drive at the pass, shutting out companies with organized labor as well as those who would “taint the water” with organization for as long as she remains governor:
They’re coming into South Carolina. 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.
Haley’s statement reflects a battle between her state and the NLRB in 2009 over Boeing’s desire to build a factory for the aerospace company’s Dreamliner in North Charleston, which the NLRB believed was done in retaliation over past union-led strikes in the company’s native state of Washington; the complaint was later dropped.
South Carolina is home to non-union transplants, including BMW, Michelin and Boeing, though Haley’s Democratic opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race, State Senator Vincent Sheheen, would welcome companies such as Ford and General Motors — and their organized labor — if it meant more jobs for the state:
We need good, high-paying jobs in South Carolina. Part of leadership is putting ideology and partisanship to the side when there’s something that could be good for South Carolina.