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Stadthagen: Secret ballots empower Alabama workers in unionization votes

Alabama House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen says his recent legislation will effectively keep the United Auto Workers (UAW) and large union interests away from Alabama, because when employees cast secret ballots, they do so without coercion or fear of retaliation.

Earlier this month, an vote among workers at the Alabama Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facility resulted in a decisive defeat for the UAW. Thursday, Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) discussed his bill on FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show”

“We give incentives for good-paying jobs to come into state of Alabama — every state does,” said Stadthagen. “I actually think that piece of legislation keeps UAW out of the state of Alabama.”

“If you’re getting incentives with the state, and say UAW comes in, and you do not allow those employees to have the opportunity for private ballots, well, then you will lose your incentives that the state has provided for you,” Stadthagen explained. “The employers will not have a problem providing that opportunity for them. They just needed some guidelines to go by to be able to do that.”

RELATED: State Sen. Arthur Orr says his bill intends to ‘prevent coercion’ in Alabama unionization votes

The workers at Mercedes recently voted down the UAW’s request to unionize the labor force there. UAW’s defeat surprised many pundits — but not Stadthagen.

“I actually thought they received a lot more votes than what they should,” said Stadthagen. “I think that if you look at either UAW past record in what they’ve done or to different states and, and communities. I mean, they have destroyed communities. The only person that benefits when they get involved is themselves. And that’s it.”

“They make all these empty promises to these employees, and they never ever fulfill their end of the bargain,” he continued. “And I think once the employees realize what the end result of this will be, they will keep putting them down. And that’s when they will say, you know, what, Alabama is not profitable for us, because that’s what, that’s all they’re worried about. And they’ll go somewhere else.”

Stadthagen also mentioned a smaller flashpoint in the UAW’s campaign that drew significant frustration from the state’s biggest institutions, including the University of Alabama, Auburn University — and even Nick Saban himself.

RELATED: Nick Saban denounces UAW for misrepresenting comments, likeness in advertisements

“When the results came in, UAW immediately went back with a Alabama logo shirt, which, Coach Nick Saban was calling him out, ‘Do not use our logo for your benefit.’ And of course, that’s exactly what they didn’t listen, they didn’t care. They kept doing what they wanted to do,” Stadthagen said.

“We keep pushing the message to the employees and let them know, ‘This is who this is, this is what they want to do. This is their track record.’ When we run for political office, we are held accountable on our votes and what we do in our communities in our districts. And this is the same thing. Anytime you take a vote on something, especially something that impacts the families providing a roof and food on the table for their families, we’ve got to let them see the writing on the wall of what this actually organization is and what they do.”

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