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South Carolina Pushes Anti-Union Legislation

    Client Alerts
  • February 10, 2012

In the wake of the National Labor Relations Board's efforts to sanction Boeing for location of a manufacturing plant in South Carolina, Governor Haley fired back last month, announcing a new legislative initiative openly intended to restrict and discourage union membership in the state. The proposed Right to Work Act would require all South Carolina employers to post a notice to employees advising them of the fact that they may not be denied employment because of their refusal to join a labor union. The bill increases penalties for unions that violate the existing right to work requirements, and also mandates more financial disclosures from unions.

On the same day the bill was introduced, Governor Haley also issued an executive order directing increased enforcement of the existing South Carolina ban on payment of unemployment insurance benefits to striking workers. Noting the state's already low unionization rate, Governor Haley characterized the new measures as economic development tools aimed at employers seeking to avoid union-friendly laws in place in other states.

The proposed bill and executive order may be more symbolic than substantive, given that the covered practices are already illegal under South Carolina law. However, the blatant anti-union message issued by the Governor represents a new attack against the NLRB, and other efforts to expand organized labor rights in right to work states such as South Carolina.