Charleston, South Carolina recently had a near-death experience with labor unions. When Boeing announced that it was shifting some production of its new Dreamliner aircraft from Washington State to South Carolina, the NLRB, at the urging of the Machinist Union, filed a complaint to block the move, and the 1,000 jobs it would bring. The NLRB eventually withdrew its complaint, allowing the economic boost to Charleston. Charleston’s salvation, however, may be short-lived if voters there elect Elizabeth Colbert Busch to Congress in Tuesday’s special election.
Colbert Busch has tried to campaign as a centrist, businesswoman in an effort to appeal to the conservative-leaning voters of the 1st Congressional District. Her campaign, however, accepted a $5,000 contribution from the same Machinist Union that tried to block the Boeing expansion into South Carolina. The contribution was the maximum allowed by law.
Early in the campaign, Colbert Busch appeared at a union event for telecommunications workers in the Charleston area. [Video below] The event was part of a larger campaign to increase unionization of workers in the Right-to-Work state. Colbert Busch said she had “learned a lot” during the campaign. She said, “the voices of unions, of all unions, need to be lifted up.” She continued, “I promise to be that voice for you.”
A few weeks after her appearance at the union event, Boeing announced it was investing over $1 billion in its North Charleston factory, adding another 2,000 jobs. If financial supporters of Colbert Busch’s campaign or the people she spoke to at the event had had their way, that investment wouldn’t have happened.
It is fine that Colbert Busch wants to be a “voice” for unions, but someone should be a vote for the rest of us.