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Mitt called

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.

MillHouse
Typical cookie-cutter mill houses in Startex South Carolina

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.

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16 Responses to Mitt called

  1. avatar
    JPotter January 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Ah, yes, “Right to Work” …. another fine example of how the right wins the war of words. I find the intentions despicable, but I do have to give their propaganda props. A map of right to work states vs map of last electoral results vs a map of poverty levels … or check the Bureau of Economic Analysis interactive maps.

    I have some company store tokens from local farms here. What a racket!

    Has Colbert called yet?

  2. avatar
    Norbrook January 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    The reason Boeing wanted to open the plant in South Carolina was that they were trying to “break” the unions in Washington State. Which is what Boeing got slapped down on by the NLRB for. I might also note that the plant itself was being paid for by South Carolina, not by Boeing. Basically, it was a sweet deal for Boeing: A billion dollars of infrastructure for free.

    Since then, Boeing hasn’t made any real motions towards moving – they’ve got firm union contracts in place now – and one might note they just decided to close their plant in Kansas, because of federal budget cuts. So, SC actually dodged a bullet.

  3. avatar
    JPotter January 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Norbrook: The reason Boeing wanted to open the plant in South Carolina was that they were trying to “break” the unions in Washington State.

    Ah yes, now I remember! It was quite a drama. They were shopping the 787 assembly plant all over the country (including Tulsa!), supposedly looking for the sweetest corporate welfare, while also threatening to relocate all WA facilities to Chicago. Sounded incredulous, and it was, just keeping the unions on their toes. First assembly lines were put in right at home, in Everett, WA.

    When time came to put in a second plant, it went to SC.

    These are commerical liners, so the SC plant is safe, Norbrook. Their defense business is separate; the plant being closed in Wichita was a defense plant. They sold their commercial facilities there to Spirit AeroSystems several years ago. Those jobs are safe for now.

  4. avatar
    HellT January 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    “Right to work” – yep, the right to work for less pay. Average income is higher in states that have unions and don’t have right to work for less laws.

  5. avatar
    dunstvangeet January 16, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    Well, the problem with the “Right to Work” is the following…

    Unions are required to basically negotiate with management for everybody under their classification. For instance, a Teachers Union has to negotiate with the district for all teachers. There are not two pay scales, one negotiated by the union, and one for the non-union employees. Same job, same pay, which means that the union has to negotiate and represent in negotiations all the employees, whether or not their union.

    Most “right to work” states also have laws that state that employees not only don’t have to pay dues to the union, but also don’t have to pay the union for the negotiation that they benefited from. There are a few states that say that you can’t force someone to join a union, but they still have to pay their fair share of the negotiation costs (Oregon is one of them). So, basically you have a couple of options: join the union, and pay union dues, or not join the union, and enjoy nearly the same benefits as union members, but pay nothing to the union that got them those benefits. Most choose to take the benefits that were fought for by the union, but pay nothing to the union that got them the benefits.

  6. avatar
    Majority Will January 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Birther Joseph Farah: Eligibility Questions (About People Other Than Obama) Are A Distraction

    (excerpt) Joseph Farah is annoyed. The editor of WorldNetDaily and prominent birther has discovered that questioning the eligibility of a presidential candidate can be a distraction.

    Here’s how Farah begins his January 13 WND column:

    How do these things get started?

    No wonder people are so confused about the issues of the day.

    I am literally deluged with emails from Americans insisting that Mitt Romney is not constitutionally eligible to be president.

    It’s not true.

    Really? The man whose website is so obsessed with the eligibility of Barack Obama to be president that it ignores facts and descends into the realm of absurdity is wondering how such things “get started”?

    (source: http://mediamatters.org/blog/201201150005)

  7. avatar
    J. Potter January 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Majority Will: Birther Joseph Farah: Eligibility Questions (About People Other Than Obama) Are A Distraction

    Awesome, thanks MW!!

    Might want to use a warning label next time tho. That post just cured my iron deficiency. And I liked my iron deficiency. πŸ˜‰

  8. avatar
    G January 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    LMAO! Oh, irony! I love it when the whole “what goes around comes around” ends up biting those that helped start it, in the @ss…

    Majority Will: Birther Joseph Farah: Eligibility Questions (About People Other Than Obama) Are A Distraction(excerpt) Joseph Farah is annoyed. The editor of WorldNetDaily and prominent birther has discovered that questioning the eligibility of a presidential candidate can be a distraction.Here’s how Farah begins his January 13 WND column:How do these things get started?No wonder people are so confused about the issues of the day.I am literally deluged with emails from Americans insisting that Mitt Romney is not constitutionally eligible to be president.It’s not true.Really? The man whose website is so obsessed with the eligibility of Barack Obama to be president that it ignores facts and descends into the realm of absurdity is wondering how such things “get started”?(source: http://mediamatters.org/blog/201201150005)

  9. avatar
    Majority Will January 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    J. Potter: Awesome, thanks MW!!

    Might want to use a warning label next time tho. That post just cured my iron deficiency. And I liked my iron deficiency.

    You’re welcome. Anything WND related should be considered an automatic warning.

  10. avatar
    Wile E. January 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    J. Potter:
    Might want to use a warning label next time tho. That post just cured my iron deficiency. And I liked my iron deficiency.

    My favorite Farah/Irony moment…

    “Don’t believe everything you read,” Farah said in an interview with TPM on Wednesday.
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/05/wnds_joseph_farah_may_sue_esquire_over_birther_par.php

  11. avatar
    Horus January 17, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    “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.”

    I recall an old folk song that used to be sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford called “Sixteen Tons”. It goes: You load 16 tons and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt… I owe my soul to the company store.

    This song was used as an anthem by union organizers in the south.

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I now have this message on my answering machine:

    Hi.

    Due to the high volume of political robo-calls, we have had to disconnect our phone system ringer until after the South Carolina primary. You may leave a message at the beep.

  13. avatar
    Keith January 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I now have this message on my answering machine:

    Excellent solution.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    The mill system in South Carolina is a big topic. Not all mill villages were equal, and not all mill owners were equally enlightened. I seem to recall that the first electric street lights in the state were in a mill village.

    Nevertheless, the mill system created an under caste population (the “lintheads”) including extensive child labor.

    Horus: I recall an old folk song that used to be sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford called “Sixteen Tons”. It goes: You load 16 tons and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt… I owe my soul to the company store.

  15. avatar
    JPotter January 17, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Nevertheless, the mill system created an under caste population (the “lintheads”) including extensive child labor.

    There is a Gingrich joke in there somewhere ….. πŸ˜‰

  16. avatar
    bernadineayers January 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    i know, i had to block all political calls. i don’t want politics or religion brought to my front door (including the phone)

    with romney…. i find the dog on the roof thing to be horrifying still, i wouldn’t vote for him just for that. i maybe shit out of luck for voting this time, unless trump runs, i could use him as a protest vote.

    newt may rebound… think debate.