We recommend a "yes" vote on Amendment 7, which requires a secret ballot of employees seeking union representation.
Under federal law, one method of organizing unions at a company is the "card check," which does not require a secret ballot. Labor regulations do not require employers to recognize the card-check method. Amendment 7 has the goal of eliminating card checks as an option.
There is some question as to whether Amendment 7 improperly conflicts with federal law, but a recent federal decision found no conflict.
While unions play an important role in protecting worker rights, the simple fact is that Alabama owes its strides in industrial recruitment to the lack of a union presence. In 2011, 10 percent of Alabama workers were union members, a higher percentage than most Southeastern states. Alabama has benefited from aggressive unions in such states as Michigan, where 17 percent of workers are in a union.
There may come a time when legislative hostility toward unions is a problem. In 2012, though, Alabama is still scrambling to make up for more than a century of being invisible to major employers.
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