House lawmakers approve another anti-union measure

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH/AP) -- The South Carolina House has approved a bill Republicans say further strengthens the state's already tough anti-union law.

Democrats argued Wednesday the measure is unnecessary duplication in a state that already ranks among the least unionized. Union members in 2011 made up just 3.4 percent of South Carolina's workforce.

The bill was approved by an 86-25 vote and would require unions to submit detailed financial data to the state's labor agency. They already must report the information to the federal Department of Labor. The measure would also increase civil and criminal penalties for unions that break the state's right-to-work law and require employers to post that law.

â??The Right to Work Act is about creating jobs,â?? said House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham. â??This is not about demonizing labor organizations, it is about protecting the Constitutional rights of our workers. Creating the best working environment â?? one where we ensure minimal outside interference in a businessâ??s affairs â?? should be the focus of everyone in our state.â??

The measure completes the first Republican Caucus agenda item.

Democrats argue the move is simply election-year politics.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)