On June 9, 2011, Alabama’s legislature gave final approval to HB 64, a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee secret ballot elections on whether employees choose to be represented by unions. The proposed amendment states, in pertinent part:
The right of individuals to vote by secret ballot is fundamental. Where state or federal law requires elections for public office or public votes on referenda, or designations or authorizations of employee representation, the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot shall be guaranteed.
The proposed constitutional amendment has been certified for statewide vote in connection with Alabama’s November 2012 general election. This proposal may be revisited during the 2012 legislative session. Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah have adopted similar legislation.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has challenged such state legislation as preempted by federal law. We anticipate there may be a similar constitutional fight in connection with Alabama’s HB 64.
Note: This article was published in the June 15, 2011 issue of the Alabama eAuthority.