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Dan Catchpole | dcatchpole@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 1:33 p.m.

Machinists sue S.C. gov. over remarks about Boeing plant

The Machinists union has filed a lawsuit after S.C.'s governor made remarks about trying to keep unions out of the Boeing Co.'s plant in North Charleston.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, together with the AFL-CIO, filed the suit in Charleston on Thursday.

Prior to taking office this year, Gov. Nikki Haley said she'd look for cabinet members who will help fight unions at Boeing's plant in South Carolina.

The Machinists want the court to tell Haley to remain neutral on labor issues.

“There's no secret I don't like the unions,” Haley told the Associated Press, when asked about the litigation. “We are a right-to-work state. I will do everything I can to defend the fact we are a right-to-work state. We are pro-business by nature. I want us to continue to be pro-business. If they don't like what I said, I'm sorry, that's how I feel.”

Machinists union spokesman Frank Larkin told the AP the lawsuit is an attempt to make sure workers' constitutionally protected rights aren't harmed by South Carolina's governor. Larkin hadn't seen another governor be so plainspoken.

“This is practically unprecedented for a state to be so clear and so overt,” Larkin said.

This isn't the only legal action the state of South Carolina could face over labor unions.

The National Labor Relations Board said earlier this month that it is also considering a lawsuit against South Carolina and three other states over anti-union amendments to state constitutions.


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