Vote on ‘Right to Work’ amendment stalls in Senate

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A bill, which would put the idea of cementing Alabama’s status as a “Right to Work” state in constitutional statute up for a vote, stalled in the Alabama Senate Thursday as lawmakers attempted to make progress on less contentious issues. Alabama’s status as a “Right to Work” state is already enshrined as a statute, but this legislation would secure it via constitutional amendment.

HB37 from Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham) has already passed the Senate, despite efforts by Democrats to derail the bill. In fact, Democrats succeeded in voting down the bill on a day that many House Republicans were absent, but the bill was brought up for reconsideration on a day when Republicans were better represented and passed by large margins.

When it was brought up on the Senate floor Thursday by Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville), it was immediately opposed by Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro). Singleton railed against the legislation, saying the term “Right to Work” is misleading.

“It’s says to Alabama workers that we want you to be on edge every day,” Singleton said. “The ‘Right to Work’ should be called the ‘Right to Fire.’ It is totally unfair to working class Alabamians.”

Much the same argument was made by House Democrats, who said that the bill is a “union-busting” measure and overlooks the needs of Alabama workers in favor of incoming industries.

But proponents argue that Alabama’s status as a “Right to Work” state has worked wonders in attracting jobs to the state, via large corporations like Polaris and Hyundai. Securing that status in the state’s oversized constitution would make it harder to upend in later years.

Dial noted that the effort was part of House Republicans’ agenda.

“It tells the world that Alabama is open for business,” Dial said.

After a brief exchange between Singleton and Dial, Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) implored the Senators to carry the bill over so that action could be taken on other legislation. Senators agreed and a vote was delayed.

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