Nikki Haley Pushing to Make South Carolina Worst State in the Country for Workers

 Just days after the South Carolina primary became a referendum on which GOP candidate could hate union workers the most, deeply unpopular Governor Nikki Haley (34 percent approval rating in December, worse than that of Mark Sanford when he was on his way out after being caught bailing on his duties to have an affair in Argentina) is looking for a way to smack organized labor around a bit more. 

The State newspaperreports that Haley and Republicans in the state legislature are pushing a bill that would require employers to display a poster in the workplace telling workers they don't have to be union members to work (a right already in the state's law), increase civil penalties for violation of the "right-to-work" law that forces unions to represent workers who don't pay dues, allow workers to resign and stop paying dues without the waiting period required in current law, and require unions to file financial information with the state.

Not content with less than 5 percent union density in the state (the seventh-lowest in the nation), Haley wants to get rid of them entirely.  “Unions are not needed, wanted or welcome in South Carolina,” she said at the press conference unveiling the new bill.

She also issued an executive order last week prohibiting striking workers from receiving unemployment benefits. 

As Josh Eidelson reported last week for AlterNet, Haley's ire at unions comes after an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board into whether Boeing was deliberately punishing union workers in Washington by moving work to a non-union plant in South Carolina. As Haley's credibility as a reformer (she ran on a platform of good government and cleaning up the state as well as being "business-friendly) wanes, she's doubling down on the same thing the national GOP is: union-busting. 

In a state with so few union workers in the first place, it seems that Haley isn't worried about actual conditions for South Carolinians, but is buttering up the big-money boys for some national attention, since there are already rumors she'll be primaried in 2014. After her endorsement of Mitt Romney backfired on her--Politico reported that "there’s a sense that a handful of state legislators who would have backed Romney but refused to out of principle, simply because they hate Haley so much"--maybe beating up on already beaten-down workers is the only thing Haley can do to grab the spotlight back. 

Hey, it worked for Mitch Daniels, chosen to rebut Obama's State of the Union Tuesday night while thousands of workers protest him at home. 


AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe

Posted at January 25, 2012, 6:18am

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