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New Alabama Law Punishes Union-Friendly Employers

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey ® announced Monday that she has signed a bill into law punishing employers that make it easier for their employees to bargain collectively.

The law, known as Senate Bill 231, bars companies from receiving state economic incentives if they voluntarily recognize their workers’ unions, rather than forcing them to vote on whether to unionize in secret-ballot elections. Affected companies could lose grants, loans and tax credits starting next year.

Speaking to a local chamber of commerce event in Huntsville on Monday, Ivey said the anti-union law would “protect our Alabama jobs.” She also referenced a high-profile union election at a Mercedes-Benz facility near Tuscaloosa this week, in which thousands of employees will decide on whether to join the United Auto Workers union.

“Alabama is not Michigan. Huntsville, Tuscaloosa — they’re not Detroit,” Ivey said, according to a transcript provided by her office. “We want to ensure that Alabama values, not Detroit values, continue to define the future of this great state.”

When a majority of employees in a workplace have signed union cards, the employer can choose to voluntarily recognize the union, a process sometimes called “card check.” Once it’s clear enough employees have signed, the union becomes official automatically. This allows union leaders to avoid an election campaign, during which employers often try to pressure their workers — by means legal and illegal — to vote “no” on unionization.

Anti-union groups and many Republican lawmakers are pushing bills like the one Ivey signed, claiming unions bully workers into signing cards. Tennessee implemented a similar law last year, and Georgia followed suit earlier this year. Meanwhile, the right-wing

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