COLUMBIA -- White House hopeful Mitt Romney will wade into the union fight over the Boeing Co.'s decision to locate in right-to-work South Carolina when he delivers a labor policy speech Monday after a tour of the North Charleston plant.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, will tour the facility in advance of the presidential debate in Tampa, Fla., later that day. He will deliver his remarks at 9 a.m. at North Charleston City Hall.
Romney said at a GOP presidential forum in Columbia on Labor Day that union is not a bad word in itself, but powerful labor organizations need to be kept in check.
The lawsuit that the National Labor Relations Board brought against Boeing for locating in South Carolina, considered an anti-union state by some, is the best example of why Romney wants to reverse the labor policies put forward by President Barack Obama, according to Romney's campaign.
Gov. Nikki Haley welcomed Romney's visit and his ideas. Haley, also a Republican, has been adamant in her fight against the labor board for its complaint against Boeing.
"We appreciate not just the talk but the action Governor Romney has taken to understand and highlight the challenges NLRB has brought upon Boeing," Haley said in a statement Friday. "It is a strong sign to the people of our state that he is focused on our jobs."
Boeing did not have any specific comment on Romney's visit. Candy Eslinger, a company spokeswoman, said Boeing regularly hosts visitors for tours.
Bob Oldendick, a political science professor at the University of South Carolina, said Romney's decision to deliver a major policy speech after a tour of Boeing is symbolic.
The visit also indicates that Romney is focusing more energy on South Carolina, Oldendick said. Romney did not start the campaign cycle spending much time in the state, which hosts the first-in-the-South primary, scheduled for earlier next year. Spending time in South Carolina is a wise decision, he said. He will have to campaign hard to put up a fight against Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the GOP nomination.
"It is turning into a two-person race between him and Perry," Oldendick said.
Romney's campaign provided The Post and Courier with details about the plan the presidential candidate will unveil next week:
Meanwhile, also on Monday, Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, will speak out against Republicans who have attacked the labor relations board on its Boeing lawsuit. Trumka will urge Republicans to spend their time creating jobs instead of attacking a neutral and independent agency, according to a spokesman.
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