In the next few weeks, employees at the Mercedes-Benz automotive manufacturing plant in Vance, Alabama, will vote on whether to join forces with Detroit’s United Auto Workers union and bring organized labor into the facility or reject the bogus snake-oil hokum that union leaders have repeatedly attempted to sell them.

As we await their decision, Alabama’s future success in economic development and industrial recruitment hangs in the balance.

If employees decide to cast their lot with the UAW, Alabama will join the list of states that industrial prospects immediately cross off of their list when looking for places to locate or expand, but if they wisely reject the siren call of the labor union, our historically low unemployment and historically high economic expansion can continue unabated.

The UAW’s last concerted effort to expand its influence into the southeast occurred roughly a decade ago, and at that time, I sponsored a constitutional amendment to demonstrate that Alabama remains inhospitable to organized labor, its tactics, and its threat to our ability to create jobs.

Since 1953, Alabama has had a right-to-work statute on the books, which prohibits making union membership a requirement for employment, but because such laws can be repealed or reversed rather easily, I sought to make that protection a constitutional guarantee.

In addition to enshrining the right to employment without being pressured into organized labor participation, the amendment also prohibited the practice of charging non-union employees a mandatory “fee” in lieu of membership dues because they, too, could benefit from any collective bargaining negotiations with management.

The amendment also banned unions from creating monopolies and preventing competing organized labor groups from representing workers on a variety of issues.

During the statewide referendum election that followed, Alabamians ratified the amendment by a 70% to 30% margin, which removed any doubt about where our state’s citizens stood on the issue.

A few years before, Alabama also enacted a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to secret ballots in unionization elections.

Prior to the amendment, which passed by a 67% to 32% margin, labor unions could organize through a procedure known as “card check,” which allows workers to simply sign a card indicating they wished to unionize, but such efforts were often fraught with intimidation, coercion, and strong-armed tactics that forced employees to join.

Requiring a secret ballot removes the mafia-like pressure that unions often utilize and embraces the foundational liberties and principles upon which our nation was built.

For similar reasons, State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) is currently sponsoring legislation in the 2024 regular session that takes away state economic development incentives from any employer who allows their workplace to be unionized without first requiring a secret ballot vote of employees. Because the measure is not retroactive, it would apply only to future incentives packages and ensure that current agreements are kept in good faith.

Based upon similar legislation enacted in George and Tennessee, the bill would also remove or prohibit economic development incentives for any employer who voluntarily discloses an employee's personal contact information to a labor organization or third party acting on behalf of a labor organization without the employee's prior written consent.

It is a common sense approach that protects business owners, employees, economic developers, the Alabama Department of Commerce, and, most importantly, the taxpayers who allow incentives such as tax credits, abatements, exemptions, loans, grants, and others to be offered in exchange for right-to-work, open-shop jobs.

The bill is being fast-tracked by the legislative leadership and will likely become law in the coming days.

Countless factories and manufacturing plants in once-great industrial cities of the Rust Belt now sit empty as they rot and decay. The sounds of progress and the voices of eager workers have been replaced with a stony silence that is sometimes interrupted only by the echoing sounds of birds flying in the rafters.

Hope has been replaced with hopelessness. Jobs have been replaced with joblessness. Opportunities have been replaced with abandonment.

And all of that sadness is the result of labor unions killing the proverbial goose that laid the golden eggs in those areas.

The only way to prevent that unfortunate history from repeating itself here is for Alabama automotive workers to stand tall and deny the UAW from gaining a foothold in our state.

Please join me in praying that they make the wise and correct choice.

State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) has represented Alabama’s 43rd House District since 2014.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.