Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will deliver a policy speech focused on labor unions in South Carolina on Monday.
Romney will use the speech to highlight his position on unions, including a proposed executive order to give workers a secret ballot option and an opt-out of union membership. The executive order was one of five that he pledged earlier this week to give on the first day of his presidency.
Romney also signaled his intention to wade into the union fight in South Carolina, where he will tour the controversial new Boeing plant in Charleston. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is suing the company over the plant, which the board charges was built in South Carolina out of retaliation for union strikes at Boeing's plant in Washington state.
The former Massachusetts governor will emphasize free enterprise principles in his speech, including his belief that any company is free to invest where it wants, according to details provided to South Carolina’s Post and Courier.
Romney also wants to build in protections to ensure against forced union membership, ambush elections and automatic political contributions.
Romney’s campaign is kicking into high gear this month, following Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s challenge to Romeny’s status as front-runner in nationwide polls. Romney delivered a speech Tuesday offering his own jobs plan ahead of President Obama’s speech Thursday and came out swinging against Perry’s jobs record in Wednesday’s GOP debate.
Romney’s choice to focus on labor issues comes at a time when labor leaders have declared unions are at “war” with the Tea Party movement. Romney, who has said he agrees with Tea Party principles but has some opposition from affiliated organizations, will participate in a presidential debate co-sponsored by the Tea Party Express later on Monday.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a rising star in the GOP, has pressed for Obama to address the ongoing NLRB case. Haley’s endorsement is one of the most coveted in the Republican presidential field. She has promised to give before South Carolina's primary.
"We appreciate not just the talk but the action Gov. Romney has taken to understand and highlight the challenges NLRB has brought upon Boeing,” Haley said in a statement. “It is a strong sign to the people of our state that he is focused on our jobs."