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Clay Scofield: Even a small dose of labor union snake oil could prove poisonous to Alabama’s economy



Alabama is at an economic crossroads, and the path we take will determine whether we achieve record-low unemployment and historic industrial talent. Will the successes of the past few years continue, or will we return to the days of decades ago, when wages were low, jobs were scarce, and meeting even the most basic financial obligations was difficult?

At issue is an effort by the United Auto Workers union to organize the auto factories that dot the state and are an important part of Alabama's history.

Mercedes-Benz made international headlines in 1993 when it announced it would locate the first U.S. M-Class SUV manufacturing facility in Vance, Alabama, a little-known community of about 300 people.

Alabama's economy at the time was primarily known for its large number of hosiery and textile mills that provided low-paying jobs to workers with few specialized skills. Many magazines and newspapers questioned whether our country could provide the highly trained workforce Mercedes needed to meet its production goals.

These doubters believe that the work ethic of Alabamians is unparalleled in the nation and that the state's commitment to ensuring quality job training and industry guidance is available to all those seeking employment. I had underestimated it.

Mercedes' experiments in Alabama have proven to be very successful, with total investment in the state now reaching $7 billion, as additional models, including electric vehicles, are manufactured in Vance. , continues to increase day by day..

The old and oft-quoted adage, “Success begets success,” was proven true when other automakers saw the great talent of Alabama's employees and decided to: Ta. Please find here.

Like a manufacturing tsunami, Toyota/Mazda, Honda, and Hyundai have each built large, impressive facilities in Alabama, but like a rising tide, unions are taking root here. If this is successful, the tide may soon recede.

In addition to a dedicated workforce, Alabama is also home to automakers and other companies providing 21st century jobs, including Boeing, Airbus, and Austal USA. Alabama is a right-to-work state, with little union activity and low participation by those eligible to work. participate.

Unions have traditionally been most successful in areas where the cost of living is high and wages are low, but while Alabama's cost of living is the fourth lowest in the nation, wages paid by the industrial manufacturing sector are generous and plentiful. .

As recently as three months ago, I served in the State Senate for 13 years, and I am confident that Congress, with the full backing and support of the business community, will pass legislation that will make it more affordable to live and work in Alabama. We can prove that it passed and continues to pass. .

Just last year, the Alabama Legislature, for example, approved a bill that would exempt overtime pay from state income taxes, allowing overworked employees to reap the full rewards of their work without being penalized.

The Legislature also passed a phase-out of the sales tax on groceries, which, once fully implemented, would give Alabama families an annual table tax cut of about $500 and give each working Alabamian $150. An income tax refund will be given.

Currently in session, the state Legislature will soon take up a child care tax credit that would reduce the cost of child care for Alabama workers. Incentive legislation is constantly passed and updated to ensure that Alabama continues to lead its sister southeastern states in economic development and industrial improvement.

But if the UAW succeeds in opening the door to union petitions, union strikes, and unrealistic bargaining demands in Alabama, all efforts to attract these jobs and empower workers will be in vain. Something will turn out to be true.

And instead of enriching the wallets and bank accounts of working Alabamians as they were intended to do, the proceeds from the tax cuts, deductions, exemptions, and rebates passed by Congress are paying exorbitant six-figure sums in high union fees and foreign nationals. The money will be used to pay salaries. – State UAW boss.

I am a snake oil salesman who promotes the fact that Alabama workers are UAW union members as if it were some magical elixir that would solve everything that ails us. I'm sure you're too smart and smart to be fooled by their claims.

Ingestion of even small amounts could be detrimental to Alabama's economy.

Clay Schofield is Vice President of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). Since 2010 he has served as an Alabama state senator representing the 9th District, and since 2021 he has served as the majority leader of the Senate Republican Caucus.

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