South Carolina labor movement hammers Republicans on Boeing deal

South Carolina Workers Tell Gov. Haley, Other Lawmakers to Focus on Creating Good Jobs, Hold Boeing Accountable for Breaking the Law
June 17, 2011

(CHARLESTON, SC) – South Carolina workers called on South Carolina Representatives, Gov. Nikki Haley and other lawmakers to focus on creating good jobs and to stop their political three-ring circus in defense of Boeing lobbyists and CEOs.  Workers spoke prior to a politically-motivated hearing – organized by California Rep. Darrell Issa and attended by Gov. Haley and Reps. Gowdy, Scott and Wilson – on Boeing and the NLRB Friday in North Charleston.

"We have heard a lot of talk recently about what is right for South Carolinians from lawmakers, both here in our state and in Washington D.C.," said Joe Shelling, a mill worker at the Cap Stone paper mill in Charleston.  "Well, I am here today, as a South Carolinian, to share my opinion about what we need to create good jobs and a stronger economy and it isn't the political grandstanding you see here today."

Workers emphasized that South Carolinians support Boeing bringing jobs to the state but the corporation should not break the law in order to do it.  Federal Law Enforcers filed a complaint against Boeing in April and a trial began this week to hold Boeing accountable for its blatant retaliation against Washington State workers for exercising their protected rights (see back for more details on the complaint).

"South Carolinians want good jobs, including the jobs Boeing has to offer, but employers who break the law, like Boeing is doing in Washington State, need to be held accountable and must respect workers' rights," said Georgette Carr, a Charleston long shore worker.  "As a grandmother, I am very much concerned about our economic future.   But we need to make sure that employers who come to South Carolina play by the rules and are willing to respect workers' rights."

South Carolina workers also emphasized today's hearing is part of a broader political assault on working families taking place across the country.

"This is just another example of the extreme political agenda being pushed by politicians around the country to reward corporate CEOs and lobbyists who are rigging the system – not working families," said James Johnson, a recently laid off construction worker from Summerville.  "We have seen it Wisconsin and Ohio, with the attacks on public service workers, in Washington DC with the GOP budget plan to gut Medicare, and now right here in our backyard."

"The right-wing attacks on the NLRB have nothing to do with the facts of the case or the economy, and everything to do with politics," said Erin McKee, Charleston Labor Council president.  "Working people play by the rules, and so should businesses.  But corporate lobbyists and Republicans in Congress are attacking the National Labor Relations Board—a neutral, independent agency—for asking Boeing to play by the rules. The fact is that retaliating against workers—as Boeing's own statements indicate it may have—is against the law."

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