South Carolina has one of the least-unionized workforces in the nation. At 3.9% (or 70,000 workers), union membership in S.C. decreased in 2008 despite an overall increase in membership across the United States. Of course being a right to work state is the main reason that union membership is so low and companies are increasingly looking to move their headquarters and manufacturing facilities to that state. Unfortunately, those 3.9% of workers are causing a little economic strife at the Port of Charleston where, solely because of the Teamsters, Maersk Line will no longer be docking in South Carolina after its contractual obligations run out in 2010.
Heeding this serious warning, S.C. Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Greenville, introduced a law that would amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to vote by secret ballot. Several dozen S.C. lawmakers have already signed onto the effort. If the secret ballot measure passes in Columbia, S.C., the citizens would vote on the matter in the 2010 election – but probably not in enough time to keep Maersk Line docking on its shores.