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Volkswagen Redux: AL Copper Plant Votes 75-74 to Unionize Despite Governor’s Meddling

AL Gov. Bentley sent a letter urging workers not to unionize at Golden Dragon Copper

AL Gov. Bentley sent a letter urging workers not to unionize at Golden Dragon Copper

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A strong op-ed recently appeared in the Montgomery Advisor in which writer Josh Moon explains the importance of unions in the South. He uses a barn burner of a unionization vote at the Golden Dragon Copper Plant as an example.

Earlier this month the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that 75 workers at the plant had voted for a union while 74 workers voted against it.  During the union election, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley suggested that a vote for the union would dissuade companies from moving to the region.  Not mentioned by Bentley was that state officials had to extend up to $160 million in capital income tax credits to the company over the next 20 years.  

Moon argues that the real issue is why the state has to pay companies to operate within its borders and whether or not it implements policy changes which attract companies that pay a fair wage:

Over objections from Gov. Robert Bentley, the workers at GD voted to unionize earlier this month.

And when I say that Bentley objected, I don’t mean that the governor mentioned in passing during a regular press conference that he’d rather that the workers not unionize. No, Bentley took the time to write a letter to the workers and lay out his case for them not unionizing.

Among his reasons: the vote might discourage other companies from locating to Wilcox County or Alabama altogether.

You know what? Good.

I don’t think it will be the deterrent Bentley claims it might be, but if it does discourage some bottom-feeding company from swooping in here to suck up free money in the form of “economic development” while dumping a bunch of low-skill, crappy-benefits jobs on the people of this state, good.

Maybe it will force the leaders of this state to finally figure out a long-term option. Maybe it will force them to look into why it has to basically build the plants for incoming companies and agree to train every potential employee before new businesses will locate here.

Maybe it might actually force someone in a leadership position to look out for the workers of this state on the front end.

By fixing our broken education system so the schools of this state attract companies. By expanding Medicaid and keeping hospitals open, so any potential companies don’t worry that their employees might die before medical care from two counties away can get to them.

These are the real problems affecting employment in this state. Not unions. Unions might be the only hope our workers have at a fair wage and a decent living.

And that’s as black and white as I can make it.

Unions are not the problem in Alabama, Moon writes. Poor policy and lack of vision are.

Read his op-ed in its entirety.


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