Handshake Down In Alabama

Like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and many other states, Alabama has a big, new Republican legislative majority working hard to undermine unions. The House passed HB 64 yesterday, which would amend Alabama's 1901 constitution to require secret balloting for workplace unionization. Democrats objected to the bill, challenging sponsor Kurt Wallace on the relevance and necessity of such an amendment. Wallace had few answers to offer, but to his credit he never wavered from insisting the bill was "common sense." Part Two and notes below the fold:

The relevant portion of the "Handshake with Alabama" (.PDF):

We will fight to ensure that Alabama remains a right-to-work state in order to keep employment costs low and demand legislation that protects the right to a secret ballot in union elections so that no worker may be harassed or intimidated for voting his or her heart and conscience. (Emphasis mine)

'Keeping employment costs low' is code for low wages. During a caucus press conference yesterday, House Democrats spoke of the shrinking middle class in Alabama and the need to balance budgets on the backs of large, out-of-state corporations rather than working families. They worried aloud that Alabama was on the verge of becoming a Third World state -- attractive to industry only as a source of cheap, unskilled labor and raw materials. They focused on education as the key to forestalling that fate for Alabama.

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"Handshake with Alabama" was the Republican marketing slogan in the historic election that swept them to legislative power in November for the first time in 136 years.


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