Haley: SC will be supportive of Boeing

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she feels bad for the governor of Washington after this week's union vote on the Boeing 777X.

Haley, who has long opposed unions, says it's terrible when a company like Boeing is trying to work in a state and the union, as she put it, "comes in and kills it."

"What happens is, when you look at the value of work force we've got at Boeing it is because of this place," said Haley.

The governor says it's the South Carolina work force that the Boeing corporation remains impressed with and one of the reasons why their new plane the 777X could come to North Charleston.

Haley has spoken to top company officials to assure them South Carolina supports the company. But she said it's too early to talk about whether South Carolina will try to draw up incentives to lure the 777X.

"We just need to be supportive of Boeing, you know I've reached out to them and told them that certainly South Carolina is their home. We are their partners," she said of the discussion with Boeing officials. "We are going to support them on whatever decisions they make because we know, we've got a long term relationship with them. We know they are happy with South Carolina."

The machinists union in Washington state this week rejected a contract that would have kept the 777X work there. Other South Carolina lawmakers have said the union vote puts the state in the mix for the 777X.

Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell says he does not want to understate how competitive the battle for the 777X will be. He says Utah, Alabama, Texas, California and South Carolina are all interested in adding to their Boeing facilities.

"We absolutely want to go after it, compete for it and get them to locate here. It is a tough, tough thing to make happen. It's going to be extremely competitive, several states are going to be involved and trying to get it done. I don't know if we can get there quite frankly, but I think it's important to try and I think that we certainly have an opportunity," says Harrell.

Harrell says incentives will be key in luring another Boeing plane. Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor says they will negotiate more tax breaks if it means 10,000-15,000 more jobs.

"Well there is always room, it's just how you negotiate and whatever it takes to bring them here, you know without giving away the whole farm. We stand ready willing and able to do that," said Pryor.

Speaker Harrell says it could be months before a decision on the 777X is made.

Bruce Smith of the Associated Press ontributed to this report.