A battle between Alabama and the union friendly National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is taking shape. As the Alabama legislature moves through a bill that would prohibit businesses and industries from receiving state economic incentives if they recognize a union without a secret ballot vote, the Acting U.S. Labor Secretary has issued a warning.

Julie Su, a Biden appointee, told Associated Press that southern governments should not use unionbusting tactics to thwart the spread of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) across southern non-union auto plants.  “That choice belongs to the worker, free from intervention, either by the employer or by politicians, free from retaliation and threats,” Su stated during an interview with Associated Press today in Atlanta. “And what we are seeing is that workers who were thought to be too vulnerable to assert that right are doing it, and they’re doing it here in the South.”

Pro-union employees have already filed a lawsuit against Mercedes claiming the company has been involved with union busting activities.

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The Biden Administration is overtly pro-union and has voiced support for the UAW's $40 million effort to organize non-union auto producers in Alabama and five other southern states.

Tuesday, on a 72-30 vote the Alabama House approved legislation that makes companies ineligible for economic incentives if they break a secret ballot mandate. Only three Republican House members voted against the measure, two from West Alabama, Reps. Bryan Brinyark of Fayette and Rep. Matt Woods, from Jasper

Because the lower chamber added amendments it is now headed back to the senate for action.

During debate Tuesday bill sponsor Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R-9) told fellow house members, "It doesn't stop unions. It just gives the employee the right to vote in private."

Some anti-union employees have voiced concern that an open vote could subject them to harassment from pro-union workers. But the UAW and other pro-union organizations allege the bill will keep employees from deciding for themselves whether they want a union or not.

Under NLRB rules a company is allowed to voluntarily recognize a union if the majority of employees have shown support for it. Earlier this year some 70% of Mercedes employees signed union cards requesting a union vote.

Under the pending legislation, companies that have recognized unions prior to 1 January 2025 will not be penalized.

The Mercedes Benz union vote will begin May 13th and end May 17th.

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