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On election day, voters in Alabama took an important stand for workplace freedom by passing Amendment 4. 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 before the election. “Everything is secret ballot but that.”
Now that the amendment has been approved with 66% of the vote, secret ballots must be used in votes to unionize a workplace. This makes it easier for employees to vote the way they would like without fear of reprisal, and more difficult for union intimidation to color a voter’s judgement. Unions argue that this is a lack of transparency which would lead to employer intimidation. However, secret ballots are a cornerstone of American democracy, and it makes sense that a society that believes in the power of the secret ballot would apply this to all aspects.
Rosemary Elebash, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said "This is a big victory for Alabama's small-business owners and employees because it guarantees their right to cast secret ballots. The reason this even became an issue is because the labor unions want to change the rules so they can avoid secret ballots and organize a workplace simply by pressuring a majority of workers to sign union authorization cards. By defending people's right to secret ballots, voters are sending a clear message that we deserve to vote our consciences, without fear of intimidation, whether we're in the workplace or at the voting booth."
Hopefully more states will undertake similar legislation to keep workplaces free.