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Union Lawsuit Press Release

House Republicans, business leaders vow to fight Federal lawsuit on “card check”

 COLUMBIA, S.C. – The House Republicans stood with business leaders Saturday to resist a Federal threat to sue our state over the “card check” constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

 “This is another example of an overreaching Federal government that the Republican Caucus has vowed to resist,” said House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston. “We had a right to pass the amendment to protect and improve our state’s business climate. The resolution, and its approval by voters, received broad bi-partisan support – showing that this is about protecting the basic right of a worker to have a secret ballot.”

 A letter was sent from the National Labor Relations Board to S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson stating that if he did not prevent ratification of the amendment within two weeks, the Board would sue.

 “This is why Republicans were swept into power in the U.S. House of Representatives last November,” said Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Mauldin, the author of the amendment. “This is a clear overreach of liberal Federal power when all the people of our state wanted to do was ensure a secure, secret, and fair election.”

 The constitutional amendment, which was approved by more than 86% of South Carolinians, ensures a secret ballot when a union election takes place. The stated purpose of the amendment was to prevent intimidation – by the union or by the employer – from influencing the election.

 “It is unbelievable to me that a Federal agency would stand in the way of a secret ballot in ANY election,” said House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, R-Cayce. “Once again, the Obama Administration shows that it will use any means necessary to advance an agenda for its friends in the big labor unions. The S.C. House Republican Caucus welcomes this fight, and asks for the support of all South Carolinians who support the basic right to a secret ballot.”

 Business groups ranging from the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business in South Carolina, the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance, and the Upstate Chamber Coalition supported the original amendment and told Republican leaders they will continue their support.

 “This is hardly a surprise. President Obama has virtually given the NLRB over to organized labor,” said S.C. Manufacturers Alliance President Lewis Gossett. “The union’s card check scheme is nothing more than an effort to force South Carolinians into unions against their will. The SCMA will do everything possible to assist the State as it resists this union-driven lawsuit.”

 Otis Rawl, President of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce added:  “There is no mistaking the will of South Carolina’s workers on this issue. Nearly 9 of 10 voters said the right to a secret ballot should be preserved and protected.

 “We are grateful for leadership of the General Assembly, our Attorney General and the 86 percent of the state’s voters standing up to protect the right to a secret ballot,” said NFIB SC State Director J.J. Darby. “Small businesses and their employees just want to work to grow jobs in the Palmetto state, not worry about bureaucrats in Washington or union intimidation.”

 Mark Cothran, who represents the Upstate Chamber Coalition – an organzation representing 11 local chambers of commerce and more than 8,000 businesses – echoed their sentiments.

 “The Upstate Chamber Coalition was in full support of Rep. Bedingfield’s legislation last session to protect the secret ballot. It was evident that the general electorate agreed with the business community when the referendum was approved by an overwhelming 86 percent of voters.  In developing its 2011 legislative agenda, the Coalition vowed to continue supporting efforts that ensure S.C. remains a right to work state.  One of the primary goals of the Coalition is to work with lawmakers to improve our state’s business conditions.  Remaining a right to work state is at the top of that list.”