For Alabama Republicans, being right to work is not enough. They want those ideals outlined in the state Constitution.
On Thursday, the Senate approved legislation, 21-10 along partisan lines with Republicans voting for it, that would add right-to-work language into the Alabama Constitution.
If also approved by the House of Representatives and voters, the Constitution would state that workers could not be forced to join labor unions or similar organizations as a condition of their employment and could not be forced to pay dues or fees to those organizations.
While most people realize Alabama is friendly to business, Sen. Gerald Dial said the amendment would send a message to businesses throughout the nation and throughout the world “that Alabama is serious about business.”
The Alabama AFL-CIO opposes the proposal.
“RTW is a bad law, a law that keeps the standard of living low for Alabama’s middle class,” according to a statement the Alabama AFL-CIO sent out after the vote. “Strong union density creates a strong economy and business and labor agree that we are both better off with a strong economy.”
“Senator Dial and the anti-middle class state Senate should create ideas and enact laws to make the middle class stronger instead of trying to weaken it. Putting bad laws in the Constitution is a horrible idea.”
Dial, the sponsor of the legislation, said the amendment “would not change anything we’re doing” now, but he said politics change and that placing the language in the Constitution would make it harder for future lawmakers to remove that language if there is a political revolution in the state. He acknowledged there is little chance of Alabama moving away from being a right to work state in the near future, but said “20 years ago I didn’t see Republicans taking over and having a supermajority.”
“Things change,” said Dial, R-Lineville.
He said he does not expect that change in 2014, but that there could be some unforeseen catastrophic event in coming years that changes the political landscape in the state that leads to Republicans losing political control in Alabama.
Dial said placing the language in the Constitution would give those seeking to invest here and expand a business into Alabama “a little more satisfaction.”
– posted by Sebastian Kitchen