With organized labor at the center of several nasty state budget fights, Mitt Romney spoke warmly of unions at a town hall on Tuesday.
“Unions have played a very important role historically in balancing in some cases the egregious actions of some employers and have been important to the development of our economy,” Romney told a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire on Tuesday morning.
The former Massachusetts governor was responding to a question from a participant who criticized a recent National Labor Relations Board ruling against Boeing’s decision to locate a plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, instead of in union-friendly Washington State.
“There are some unions that continue to train their workers effectively, their members effectively,” Romney said. “But in some cases, if you will the union bosses — the union CEOs that are running the unions — perhaps put the interests of themselves ahead of the interests of their workers. And that may have been what happened in South Carolina.”
The NLRB decision has become a favorite GOP presidential punching bag, especially during campaign stops in the first-in-the-South primary state. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has aggressively criticized the NLRB and the union-friendly appointees that President Obama put on the board.
Romney has eagerly joined in that criticism, even tying it to potential job losses in Iowa.
Romney has also been an aggressive critic of United Autoworkers union in Michigan, a group he says unfairly benefited from the Obama administration’s bailout of General Motors. “I think the union folks basically bought and paid for [Obama’s] last campaign,” Romney told a Michigan radio station in June, “so he’s taking care of them and they’re taking care of him.”
In his second New Hampshire town hall since launching his campaign, Romney also covered topics ranging from health care to cap and trade to Libya and Iran.
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