Article I of Alabama’s 1901 Constitution guarantees certain unique rights. In addition to mirroring guarantees in the U.S. Bill of Rights, our governing document bestows many other rights.
Missing, however, is the important and fundamental right to work and provide for our families.
The Alabama Legislature is working to correct that oversight with HB 37 by Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham. HB 37 is a constitutional amendment that would further establish Alabama as a right-to-work state and prevent labor organizations from forcing employees to join. At the same time, employers could not deny union membership to workers who wish to join.
The House has passed HB 37 and sent it to the Senate for consideration. If approved, it will appear on the November ballot for ratification.
During a high-water mark of labor union activity more than 60 years ago, some non-union workers were being intimidated or pushed out by union members who wanted a “closed shop” workplace. Potential industrial prospects were reluctant to locate here because of the sometimes outrageous demands of organized labor.
To combat these threats to our economic development progress, the Legislature in 1953 passed a right-to-work statute.
Today, union activity is again on the rise and threatens the creation of jobs and opportunity. As a result, it is time for Alabama to enshrine the right to work in our Constitution and send a loud message to economic developers and industrial prospects that we remain open for business.
William J. Canary
President and CEO