SC Manufacturers Alliance urges Supreme Court to take up labor case, warns of nationwide impacts to manufacturers

November 8, 2023

The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) has filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the SC State Ports Authority’s (SCSPA) petition for a hearing in the case, SC State Ports Authority vs. National Labor Relations Board. The state manufacturers associations of Georgia, Mississippi, and West Virginia joined the SCMA in support of the position presented in the brief.

In July 2023, the Fourth Circuit issued a ruling in support of a 2022 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that stated the International Longshoremen’s Association’s (ILA) “secondary boycott” of the Hugh Leatherman Terminal was legal and protected under a work-preservation agreement between the union and the National Maritime Alliance. The decisions from the NLRB and Fourth Circuit reversed a previous Administrative Law Judge ruling that supported the SCSPA’s position that the ILA’s boycott was unlawful. In September 2023, the SCSPA filed a writ of certiorari (request for hearing) with the US Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

The majority of export and import activities of the SCSPA are derived from the manufacturing industry. The SCSPA’s infrastructure is essential in manufacturers’ ability to conduct interstate and international commerce, has been a major factor in the growth that the industry has experienced, and has led to the creation of high-quality and high-wage jobs throughout South Carolina. Around 260,000 jobs in South Carolina are tied – directly or indirectly – to port operations and port users, including many advanced manufacturers across the state, data shows (

“Manufacturers depend upon a strong and reliable infrastructure system to move products efficiently as we compete in a global marketplace, and the precarious situation created by the ILA and NLRB is a direct threat to our future competitiveness,” said Sara Hazzard, President and CEO of the SCMA. “The ILA’s ‘secondary boycott’ of the Leatherman Terminal is not only unlawful but is a self-serving strategy designed to benefit the union’s interests while ignoring the real-world economic consequences their actions will have for countless hard-working Americans, their families, and the nation’s supply chain. If the lower court’s ruling is not corrected, this will establish a dangerous precedent that will echo far beyond South Carolina and will harm our nation’s economy. It is essential that the U.S. Supreme Court grant the SCSPA’s petition for a hearing so the damage that’s been done can be fixed, and we can get back to doing what we do best – creating jobs and opportunities for our citizens.”

“The manufacturing community is keenly aware of how crucial efficient and effective logistic services are for moving and delivering the products we make,” said John McKay, President and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. “Disruptions in these services create uncertainty and jeopardize companies’ ability to be competitive. The actions of the ILA and NLRB completely ignore the negative impact this will have on so many manufacturers.”

“Georgia, like so much of the Southeast, has experienced tremendous economic growth in its manufacturing sector,” said Lloyd Avram, President and CEO of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers. A key component to this success is our ability to move goods in a manner that meets and exceeds customers’ expectations. If the US Supreme Court does not correct the lower Court’s ruling in this case, manufacturers’ ability to grow and invest could be compromised.”

To read a copy of the amicus brief, click here (

South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance
The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is the only statewide organization dedicated exclusively to the interests of manufacturers. Its mission is to strengthen and advance South Carolina manufacturing by advocating for our members, fostering a world-class workforce, and bringing together manufacturers to connect, share, and solve industry challenges. The SCMA membership is comprised of more than 200 manufacturing companies that represent more than 100,000 associates in South Carolina.