by Glynn Wilson
Amendment 7 on Alabama’s ballot looks like a simple measure to preserve the right to a secret ballot.
But the wording is misleading and, “it puts voters in the middle of the battle between labor and management,” said AFL-CIO President Al Henley.
He said the amendment, written by Republicans in their ongoing national attack on unions and labor rights, tries to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s also anti-democratic and anti-worker, he said.
“We already have secret ballots for political elections. The proposed law seeks to fix a ‘problem’ that does not exist,” he said. “Our political elections are required to be conducted by secret ballot pursuant to the Alabama Constitution.”
The measure would also give companies more control over an already company-dominated system, he said, “in which workers who want to form unions are harassed, intimidated and threatened by corporations that want to deny them their rights.”
The measure is being pushed by big corporations, he said.
“They want to make it harder for workers to form unions and bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” Henley said.
If passed, Amendment 7 would prohibit unions from organizing by card check, where they get more than half of the employees at a company to check a box on a card saying they want a union to represent them. The only method available for union organization would be a secret ballot.
Amendment 7 would preserve the use of secret ballots in determining most union organizing. The amendment is aimed at stopping proposed federal legislation that would have allowed unions to organize with a majority of signatures from workplace employees.
The AFL-CIO is building a coalition to oppose Amendment 7 made up of teachers, African-American GOTV groups and like-minded progressive institutions.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are strugggling to survive this corporate-driven attack on unions and their ability to organize,” Henley said in appeal to members. “It’s time to draw a line the sand and defend what our brothers and sisters in the labor movement struggled so mightily to attain.”
© 2012, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.