Gov. Haley heads to Washington for Boeing battle

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COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Gov. Nikki Haley says federal legislation is being introduced to protect right-to-work laws in South Carolina and other states as the National Labor Relations Board complains that the Boeing illegally retaliated against union workers.

Haley met Tuesday with U.S. senators and business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington as they reacted to NLRB claims against Boeing.

A complaint filed last month claims Boeing decided to build a new aircraft assembly line in South Carolina to retaliate for a 2008 strike at a Washington state plant. The NLRB wants the 787 assembly work returned to Washington.

Boeing's lawyer says the NLRB complaint misquotes officials and mischaracterizes the company's position.

Haley said President Barack Obama owes it to South Carolina and the nation to talk about how he will handle the NLRB challenge to Boeing.

"This goes against everything we know our American economy to be," Haley said. "When a company comes to South Carolina and wants to create jobs they should be able to do that. For the president not to weigh in on this and not to say this is going to be harmful is a problem. Job creation is key in the next few years in this country. What we are doing is telling people not only can you not work in any other state we want you to go overseas. Thats what the president is saying by his silence. Hes got to speak up."

Since the late 1800s, South Carolina has attracted industries with non-union labor, and arbitrator Hoyt Wheeler says it has worked thus far, but it shouldn't be the state's number one perk.

"It is a little odd to say the least, to have your main selling point that you are going to deprive people of their basic human right to act together collectively for a common interest, which is what unions do," Wheeler adds.

Wheeler has thirty years of experience in labor and employment law.

"I'm not sure how it will come out, but its one [complaint] that makes some sense. Workers have the right to strike and even though a company can locate its operations in any place, it can't do so for illegal reasons," according to Wheeler.

South Carolina leaders also weighed in last week. Attorney General Alan Wilson and eight other attorneys general say the complaint isn't based on any factual claims.

The attorneys general say the complaint hinders states' economic recovery from financial crisis. You can read the entire letter here.

Governor Haley has called the complaint absolute assault on a great corporate citizen and on South Carolina TMs right-to-work status."

A hearing before an administrative law judge is planned for June 14 in Seattle.

The International Association of Machinists filed a lawsuit against Gov. Nikki Haley after she said she would fight to keep unions out of the North Charleston Boeing plant. The union sued earlier this year when Haley nominated Catherine Templeton to run the state's labor agency because she would be helpful in state fights against labor groups.

See related stories Haley: 2012 GOP hopefuls need to challenge unions Boeing says union claims against SC plant false Haley, Graham, Scott talk about Boeing complaint

Haley said after the lawsuit was filed she remains ready to fight unions.

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report)