COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster has filed an amicus brief in S.C. State Ports Authority v. National Labor Relations Board, urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to end the International Longshoremen's Association's (ILA) ongoing "secondary boycott" of the S.C. State Ports Authority’s (SCSPA) new Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr. Terminal in North Charleston.
On December 16, 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), issued a split decision that reversed an Administrative Law Judge’s earlier ruling that the ILA's "secondary boycott" was unlawful. The national labor union’s "secondary boycott" has prohibited carriers from calling on the Leatherman Terminal unless and until SCSPA gives all container work at the new facility to ILA members, including the work traditionally and consistently performed by state employees.
“The Leatherman Terminal is a state-of-the-art facility and a critical part of South Carolina’s economic-development portfolio and continued competitive advantage,” said Governor McMaster. “I will not allow unions and their unlawful boycotts to hold our State’s resources, jobs, or supply chain hostage as they seek to advance their own self interests. South Carolinians have earned our prosperity, and we must continue to preserve it and enhance it, not bargain it away in response to labor union boycotts, third-party threats, or coercive pressure campaigns.”
"This court should not sanction the ILA’s indirect effort to extort new work from a third party by attempting to force the SCSPA to either convert a significant state asset into a ‘sunk cost’ or allow the ILA to acquire lift-equipment work traditionally and consistently performed at the Port by state employees, on state property, and using state equipment," the brief argues. "Full utilization of the Leatherman Terminal will provide both short- and long-term benefits for South Carolina’s transportation system, as well as much needed relief to the Wando Welch Terminal and associated infrastructure. Unfortunately, the ILA’s coercive tactics have needlessly exacerbated these problems and delayed utilization of the infrastructure intended and constructed to address them.”
The brief continues, "The Court should not allow the ILA and the NLRB to put South Carolina at a competitive disadvantage in economic development by not allowing the State to realize the benefits of its investments in, and unleash the full potential of, the Leatherman Terminal and the Port of Charleston."
The Fourth Circuit is expected to hear oral arguments in S.C. State Ports Authority v. NLRB on June 6, 2023, in Baltimore, Maryland.
The full brief can be found here.