Actually, the recorded phone message came from a supporter of Mitt Romney. He raised the specter of labor unions and how Mitt would fight them.
Labor in South Carolina
South Carolina, like every place, is a product of its history. In the Old South they used to say “cotton is king” and it was the main agricultural crop in South Carolina for many years, and manufacturing was almost exclusively textile manufacturing. Just two miles from my house is the town of Startex, which like so many towns in upstate South Carolina, is a mill town here named after the Startex Finishing Plant. The mill owners built the mills, the towns, the houses where the workers lived and the stores where they shopped. Some mills paid workers in tokens only good at the mill store. It was a very pervasively paternalistic system and the one thing that threatened the mill system was labor unions, vigorously fought (and in the main successfully) by the mill owners.
The mills are almost all gone today, textile manufacturing having been moved overseas where labor is even cheaper. Since the 1950’s South Carolina has been a “right to work state,” meaning that someone cannot be required to be a member of a labor union as a condition of employment. For more details on South Carolina’s mill system, see South Carolina: A History by Dr. Walter Edgar.
The Boeing controversy
A few years back, Boeing proposed building an assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina (presumably because of a less-expensive and largely non-union work force), and challenges were made to that location by labor unions. I didn’t follow the story in any detail, but there was left a bitter taste from that controversy that the Romney call tried to resurrect. Since Obama took office, Boeing transferred 1,000 jobs to South Carolina for the assembly of its new 787 Dreamliner, a move opposed by the union workers in Washington State and the National Labor Relations Board.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley at recent Romney rally said:
I had no idea that the hardest part about being the governor of South Carolina would be the federal government
Romney called again
While I was typing this story another Romney supporter called, this time to let me know that Romney was firmly and committedly not pro-choice. I called the Romney campaign back and left my own recorded message – to stop calling me.