Recently, more than a dozen out-of-state organizers from the United Auto Workers checked into a hotel in Greenville. Their mission? To start making intrusive house calls at the homes of BMW’s union-free employees in nearby Spartanburg in attempt to unionize the German car maker.
Elsewhere in the state, Teamster organizers out of Washington, D.C. and elsewhere are targeting food-delivery drivers in an attempt to build up that union’s sagging membership.
In Georgetown, the United Steelworkers are trying to unionize workers at a nursing home, according to a recent petition filed with the National Labor Relations Board.
All of these efforts in the Palmetto State come on the heels of the Machinist union’s overwhelming defeat at Boeing’s plant in North Charleston in February, when workers voted three to one to reject unionization.
They also come at a time when the state is enjoying the lowest unemployment rate in years and companies like Volvo and Mercedes are bringing in thousands of jobs.
In large part, South Carolina’s reputation for being a good place for employers to bring jobs to is due to its status as a Right-to-Work state, as well as having the lowest unionization rate in the country.
Both of these are things unions would like to change.
Unfortunately, since President Trump picked South Carolina’s governor and vocal union critic Nikki Haley to become the nation’s ambassador to the United Nations, vocal advocacy for union-free growth has seemingly gone missing in the state capitol.
Ms. Haley’s successor, Henry McMaster, was elevated to the governorship when Haley became U.N. ambassador, but he, so far, has remained rather silent when it comes to unions targeting the Palmetto State.
Unlike his predecessor, who actively campaigned on keeping unions out of South Carolina, during the Boeing union drive in February, McMaster remained rather subdued stating, “There is no reason to put anyone in between the remarkable men and women who work there, on the floor and in the offices, and this exemplary company.”
Given that South Carolina has the lowest unionization rate in the nation — at 1.6 percent — union organizers may be relying on South Carolinians naïveté about unions in their efforts to unionize the Palmetto State.
If so, that would be unfortunate. South Carolina’s ability to attract companies like Boeing and BMW — as well as Mercedes, Michelin, and Volvo — comes in large part because it is a business-friendly state that unions have not ruined…yet.
Although there is a gubernatorial election in 2018, and the field of potential replacements appears to be getting crowded, South Carolina could use another strong leader like Haley to maintain a pro-growth climate.
In the meantime, though, unions will continue to try to make inroads in the Palmetto State unless the people themselves see through the unions’ attempts to infiltrate the state and reject them outright.