The people's voice of reason

Kay Ivey signs workplace freedom bill

On Monday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced that she has signed a bill that protects workers' right to vote for or against a union in a secret ballot. Ivey made the announcement during a speech to the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

Senate Bill 231 was sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur). The legislation was carried in the Alabama House of Representatives by House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle).

"When we think about what drives our success as a state, an industry that comes to mind is one of our crown jewel industries, automotive manufacturing," Gov. Ivey said. "Let me make something clear. Alabama is not Michigan. Huntsville.....Tuscaloosa...they're not Detroit!"

"While other automakers have closed plants and had layoffs, the OEMs here in Alabama have continued to grow and thrive," Ivey continued. "As governor, it's my priority to keep it that way. This week in Tuscaloosa, we have a secret ballot taking place at the Mercedes plant. It is my hope that every worker there votes – it's crucial that every voice is heard."

"We want to ensure that Alabama values, not Detroit values, continue to define the future of this great state," said Ivey. "To further protect our Alabama jobs, this morning, I was proud to sign Senate Bill 231 into law. This bill, brought forward by North Alabama's own Senator Arthur Orr, will require any business that receives incentives to hold an election by secret ballot."

"Y'all, this is only right so that every vote is counted," said Ivey. "My message is clear: I am standing up for Alabamians and protecting our jobs. We will not let this threat from Detroit deter our progress, deter our hope and deter our folks' prosperity. The law is effective immediately."

"With the passage of this critical legislation, Alabama becomes a friendlier state for employees and job creators to do business," said bill sponsor Sen. Orr.

"Alabama is proud of our longstanding commitment to advancing policies that protect workers' rights to earn a living, free from coercion," said Leader Stadthagen. "We took an important step in ensuring that taxpayer dollars will not subsidize companies that deprive their employees of the right to a private vote over whether to unionize. This policy makes clear that Alabama is a friendly state for employees to work and business owners to open up shop, without fear of combative union politics threatening their livelihoods and bottom lines."

Workers for Opportunity, a national organization focused on advancing workplace freedom for employees across the country, applauded Gov. Ivey for signing the landmark legislation that protects worker privacy and access to a private ballot vote on whether to unionize their workplace at companies that receive state tax incentives.

The legislation addresses longstanding concerns about union organizing efforts by "card-check" – a process of collecting cards from employees and recognizing a union in lieu of a private vote. This approach to organizing, while permissible under federal regulations, can expose employees to intense pressure and intimidation by union organizers and deny them the information needed to make an informed decision.

SB231 protects workers' right to a private vote in union organizing campaigns at companies that receive taxpayer incentive dollars. Alabama joins Georgia and Tennessee in asserting that workers deserve to make decisions about who represents them in private and state taxpayers should not be subsidizing coercive unionization efforts.

Tony Daunt is the senior director of Workers for Opportunity.

"The Mackinac Center for Public Policy's national Workers for Opportunity initiative applauds Gov. Kay Ivey for signing this landmark legislation," said Senior Director Daunt. "Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Ivey, bill sponsor Sen. Arthur Orr and House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen, Alabama joins Tennessee and Georgia as the third state in the nation to enact such protections for taxpayers and workers."

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