MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary testified today before the House Constitution, Campaigns, and Elections Committee regarding, HB 37, the proposed constitutional amendment to ensure Alabama is a right-to-work state. The amendment declares that the right to work may not be denied or restricted due to membership or non-membership in a labor union. A constitutional amendment would prevent unions or companies from forcing or coercing potential or current employees to join or not join a labor union.
Canary made the following statement during today’s committee hearing:
“The last several months and years have seen thousands of manufacturing and tech jobs move to Alabama from other states, why? Alabama’s status as a right-to-work state.
“The right to join or not join a union and be free of coercive attempts to force unionization is often cited as a hallmark of Alabama’s attraction to every segment of our economy, especially manufacturers and suppliers.
“Over the last two decades, many businesses that were located in heavily unionized states have moved their operations to Alabama, choosing to locate their facilities in the right-to-work Alabama due to the ability to compete in the global marketplace. Alabama’s right-to-work status played a major role in the decisions of many to manufacture in Alabama and auto workers make more here than in any other state.
“Heavy unionization does not attract new manufacturers, expand existing business, or lead to prosperity.
“The BCA strongly supports Alabama’s right-to-work status for its benefits to economic growth, industrial recruitment, and job creation.
“Laws prohibiting forced unionization in order to get a job are on the books of 25 states. In Alabama, right-to-work has been the law since 1953. Seeing the dramatic shift, three northern states have enacted right-to-work statutes in the last three years alone.
“This 2016 proposed constitutional amendment along with the private ballot reaffirmation secured in the Alabama Constitution in 2013, inspires confidence that Alabama will remain a business-friendly state. An increased union presence in Alabama would only serve to stifle job creation and economic opportunity. We continue to believe that free enterprise can best meet the needs of its employees by maintaining an open and direct relationship with them, without the interference of a third party.
“The BCA pledges consistently in its Legislative Agendas to protect Alabama’s right-to-work status in order to keep the state competitive. Ours is a committed campaign.
“Existing industries looking to expand and companies looking to locate here must be confident that Alabama will remain a business-friendly state.
“In conclusion, we continue to believe that free enterprise can best meet the needs of its employees by maintaining an open and direct relationship with them.”
The amendment received a unanimous favorable report from the committee.
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.