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Card check is on the ballot this November in Alabama, and it’s putting voters in the middle of an argument between labor unions and management. Identical measures have been passed in Arizona, South Dakota, and Utah, and a similar measure was also passed in South Carolina. This proposed amendment would make secret ballots part of Alabama’s constitution. These workplace elections would be federally monitored for integrity to prevent any tampering by the workplace or the unions.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Wallace (R- Maplesville) is an attempt to prevent unions from organizing without a majority of signatures from workplace employees. “We all believe we have a right to cast a ballot without intimidation and coercion from anybody – except if a union comes in,” he said. “Everything is secret ballot but that.”
Card check allows workers to unionize a company if a majority of them sign a petition, but they are not given the opportunity to vote in private. Proponents say that the bill will prevent intimidation by unions, and point out that a secret ballot is a cornerstone of America. The AFL-CIO, as expected, sees it differently. President of the Alabama AFL-CIO, Al Henley, said that a secret ballot could lead to employer intimidation to influence votes. “It has no effect on existing unionized workers,” he said. “This is strictly to prevent unions from organizing.” Alabama is a Right to Work state, but still has the highest unionization rate in the south. Unions want to keep it that way. Opponents of the proposed amendment say that it will only make it more difficult for unions to organize, and threaten a federal lawsuit should it pass.
Wallace has a very different message. "If you come to Alabama,” he said “you are not going to be forced to be union. We will let the people decide.”