Gov Haley fires back after machinists union opens office for Boeing employees

Published: Mar. 19, 2014 at 11:57 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2014 at 3:07 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Governor Nikki Haley responds to a machinists union opening an office in North Charleston to educate workers at Boeing.

Haley's spokesperson Doug Mayer released a statement Wednesday:

South Carolina has consistently proven we don't need big labor bullying our business community or trying to dictate how our state is run. Over the past three years we have announced $11 billion in new capital investment, over 44,000 new jobs, and now have more people working than ever before - it's safe to say we are doing just fine without them.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have set up shop 3 miles away from the Boeing plant in North Charleston.

"They need to be here, more unions need to come here," said Kenneth Riley, president of the Charleston chapter of the International Longshoremens Association.

Riley says it's important for workers to have a voice in an at will state, meaning a boss could fire an employee for any reason.

Riley said, "In a union environment, you do have a chance to fight for your job."

A spokesperson for the machinist union says right now they are only here to answer questions and educate workers who are interested.

Officials at Boeing don't want the machinists union in North Charleston even though it already represents more than 30,000 workers at the plant in Seattle, Washington.

A Boeing spokesperson released a statement:

As we’ve said since 2009, we want to work directly with our employees and we're continuously working on keeping Boeing South Carolina a place where teammates have a voice and can speak for themselves without having to rely on a third party to speak for them.
We're very proud of what our teammates have accomplished here in South Carolina by collaborating and working together, and we don’t believe a union is in the best interest of our teammates, our business, our community nor our state.

Riley says unions do have a presence in this area.

"The longshoremen are a union, the UPS drivers are union, and the people who keep your lights on during these bad winter storms are union," said Riley.

It will be up to the workers at Boeing to decide if a union is the right fit for them.

The first informational meeting will be held Thursday at noon at the union office. They are located at 7025 Dorchester Road across from the main entrance of the Charleston Air Force Base.