Dial plans right-to-work amendment
by Tim Lockette
Dec 18, 2012 | 989 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MONTGOMERY — One week after Michigan passed a "right to work" law, one Alabama legislator is asking his state to double down on its own right-to-work stance.

Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, said he plans to introduce an amendment that would put right-to-work wording in the Alabama Constitution.

"It sends another message to businesses from outside the United States that we are open for business," Dial said.

Right-to-work laws allow people to work in unionized workplaces without being required to pay union dues. Most of the Southern and Great Plains states are right-to-work states. Ten of those states have right-to-work wording in their constitutions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Alabama has had a right-to-work statute since 1953. Republican leaders have long maintained that the law has helped the state attract car manufacturers such as Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai.

Dial said his amendment is not an attempt to compete with Michigan, which has historically been America's auto-making capital and a state with strong union participation. Last week, amid loud protest from unions, Michigan's legislature voted to pass a right-to-work law.

"Michigan sort of re-ignited it, but it's an idea I had over the summer," Dial said. He said the amendment would secure right-to-work even if the political winds shift in favor of unions.

Labor leader Al Henley said voters would make Dial regret the move in coming election cycles.

"In the senator's district, the median family income is $10,000 less than the national average," said Henley, president of the Alabama AFL-CIO.

Henley said Dial "should be working to strengthen the middle class, rather than weaken it."

Dial's proposal has not yet been filed as a bill. If it is, the Legislature could consider it during the regular session that begins in February. If it passed, the amendment would likely come before voters in 2014.

Capitol & Statewide Reporter: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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