Originally posted April 1, 2011 by Ryan
On January 20, 2010, the International Association of Machinists and AFL-CIO filed suit against Governor Nikki Haley and Catherine Templeton, newly appointed Director of the state’s Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation, for a declaratory judgment and injunction based on their actions opposing labor unions in South Carolina.
The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Charleston by Armand Derfner, a local attorney and adjunct professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at the Charleston School of Law, on behalf of the Plaintiff Labor Groups. According to the complaint, the Governor and Director acted under color of state law to implement a policy opposing labor unionization in the state in violation of the Labor Relations Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The lawsuit was spurred by comments Haley made at a press conference when nominating Templeton Director of LLR. Specifically, Haley referred to potential issues with unionization at Boeing: “We are going to fight the unions, and I needed a partner to do it; [Templeton is] the right person to help me do it.”
South Carolina is a right-to-work state, meaning the law secures the right for employees to choose whether or not they will participate in labor unions. Many suggest that South Carolina’s stance on labor unions played a determinative role in Boeing’s selection of North Charleston for its new plant.
No matter what your opinion on labor unionization is, this case has the attention of South Carolinians and could have important ramifications for the state’s construction industry.
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