ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday she feels bad for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee following this week’s union vote that left Boeing looking for other states to build its 777X.
Haley said she has spoken to top company officials to assure them South Carolina, where the company already assembles its 787 Dreamliner, is supportive of Boeing. But Haley, speaking with reporters at a South Carolina Chamber of Commerce meeting, said it’s too early to talk about South Carolina putting together an incentive package to lure the 777X.
However, some state lawmakers say South Carolina can compete for the plant despite published reports mentioning three other locations as likely sites for the work — Long Beach, Calif., Salt Lake City and Huntsville, Ala.
South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell told The Post and Courier of Charleston the union vote puts South Carolina in the mix. Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell told WCSC-TV he’s confident the state will make Boeing a competitive offer.
“I feel bad for the governor of Washington,” Haley told reporters. “It’s a terrible thing when you see great industry in your state that is trying to work and you see unions go in and kill it and that’s basically what happened.”
Haley, who has long opposed unions, added “what happened in Washington is precisely why I fight unions every day.”
Haley said she has been in contact with Boeing executives before and after the union vote. “That’s something they do by nature. That doesn’t mean anything,” she said.
She added she told Boeing “South Carolina is on standby and ready for you whenever you need them.”
Asked whether the South Carolina would be putting together a 777X incentive package, Haley said “I think it’s too premature to talk about that. I think we need to look at what their situation is and, like I said, the best thing we can do for Boeing right now is be supportive.”
Boeing broke ground in nearby North Charleston on Tuesday for a plant that will make jet engine air inlets and that could one day be expanded to a variety of propulsion work.