Alabama is a “right to work” state, which basically means that the priorities of large companies and business owners are more important than the plight of workers. Conservatives stand in opposition of the unionization of workers. Such was the case when Gov. Robert Bentley set about bringing the Golden Dragon Copper Tubing plant to Wilcox County.
Bentley and the geniuses of the Alabama state houses provided the business with an $866,000 grant for water and sewer system improvements, $1.8 million in funding from the Economic Development Administration, an industrial road and bridge constructed by the Alabama Department of Transportation specifically for the plant, plus $160 million worth of capital income tax credits over the next two decades.
Just to abbreviate that, Bentley and his administration paid a company about $165 million, and built them a road and a bridge, just to get them to move to Alabama.
Of course, Bentley touted Alabama’s “right to work” status as an obvious coup for the company.
However, much to the king’s chagrin, employees at that company decided to join the United Steelworkers Union.
Bentley worked really hard to keep the plant from unionizing, vocalizing his objections to union participation and sending propaganda through the plant to encourage workers to vote against joining the union. How surprising it must have been for him when he realized that workers would rather have a safe working environment, a decent paycheck and benefits than … nothing.
Bentley says it will make it harder for him to recruit businesses from overseas if they know that workers may unionize. My question would be this: are these the types of companies we want operating in Alabama, in our country? If a company doesn’t want to move here because they are afraid that workers will fight to protect themselves against the greed and corruption of corporate brutes then, frankly, good riddance.
It is a shame that the term “right to work” exists in a state that has an unemployment rate higher than the national average, as well as some of the most dismally low wages in the country. You certainly have a “right to work,” you just don’t have a right to decent wages, job safety, health or retirement benefits or paid maternity leave.
I say bully for the men and women at the Golden Dragon plant — it’s high time that Alabama’s workers, and workers all across the country, stand up for what is owed to them.
If we plan to build more plants, more buildings and roads and shopping malls and high-rise offices on the backs of working men and women then the least we can do is give them what they’ve earned. And since Alabama continues to refuse to do that, these workers have decided to let someone else, someone bigger and stronger, fight for their “right to work.”
The only reason to stand against unions is to oppose the rights of working men and women and force them into unsafe working conditions for uncivilized wages. And if that’s your stance, you are the one on the wrong side of logic, decency and equality.
Hopefully, more and more Alabama workers will start standing up for what they’ve been owed for generations in this “right to work” barnyard of ours.
Crossposted From Piece of Mind.
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.