Little more than a week after taking the oath of office, Gov. Nikki Haley has been sued by a trade union and the AFL-CIO, for saying the state would try to keep unions out of a new Boeing plant being built in North Charleston, next to Charleston International Airport.
The federal complaint from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the South Carolina branch of the AFL-CIO was inspired by remarks Haley made in December when she nominated Catherine Templeton, a Charleston attorney, to head the state's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Haley, a onetime protégé of scandal-plagued former Gov. Mark Sanford, played up Templeton's union-fighting background as an attorney with the Ogletree Deakins law firm and said she would help protect the state from unionization efforts, particularly at Boeing…..
In its 16-page complaint, the union accuses Haley and Templeton of pursuing an anti-union policy by "unlawfully utilizing 'increased regulatory scrutiny' of union activity and threats to immediately activate the 'punitive machinery' of state government against unions and against employees who wish to join or who advocate in favor of unions."
The union's Southern Territory Vice President Bob Martinez said in a statement: "Gov. Haley placed her hand on a Bible and swore to defend the Constitution of the United States. But her stated intention is to actively oppose workers in South Carolina who wish to exercise their legal right to join a union. There is nothing in the governor's oath of office that gives her the right to choose which laws to enforce and which to ignore."
Martinez continued: "By tasking Templeton to lead the fight against union organizing in South Carolina, and specifically against the IAM at the Boeing facility in North Charleston, Gov. Haley is requesting a state official to violate the very law she is charged with enforcing."
The union asks the court to order Haley and Templeton to remain neutral in matters concerning union activities.
But the new governor appears unbowed. Speaking with reporters after the complaint was filed, Haley said, "There's no secret I don't like the unions and that 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."
Granted, I’m not an expert on South Carolina law, but I’m hard pressed to find anything that Haley has actually done to warrant a civil suit. She hasn’t been in office long enough to do anything meaningful to hurt unions. All that she has done is spoken out against unions, expressed a desire to limit their influence, and hired a lawyer to look into the issue.
None of the above is grounds for a lawsuit. She has the first amendment right to say whatever she wants, and as governor, she has the right to hire anyone that she wants. Basically, she’s being sued for what she MIGHT do not what she has done, and they can’t do that. This lawsuit is way premature and should be promptly thrown out of court by the judge.