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Todd Strange: The future of Hyundai is Alabama – not Detroit



I was the Director of the Alabama Development Office when Hyundai was hired, I was Chairman of the Montgomery County Commission when the plant opened, and I served three terms as Mayor of Montgomery during many plant expansion projects.

Through many visits to Hyundai and suppliers, and many visits to South Korea, I learned and came to appreciate their culture, work ethic, and business acumen. As a highly advanced technology company, they understand that Hyundai and its suppliers need skilled and trained team members to succeed.

They have been a part of central Alabama for nearly 20 years and have greatly enriched the fabric of our community, the state of Alabama, and beyond. We adopted the term “before Hyundai, after Hyundai” when talking about the river region and the I-85 corridor. Thank you Hyundai for your great contribution.

Auto union organizers have long wanted to come to the South and Alabama to energize their membership and expand their political influence. Hyundai team members have resisted such efforts in the past, and now they're here again. What has changed? Hyundai and its suppliers provide thousands of quality, family-sustaining jobs, inject billions of dollars into local economies and fund essential services for the benefit of Americans.

They are committed to technological advancement and automotive safety, and are well invested in their U.S. facilities and workforce. In addition to highly competitive wages, we offer an attractive benefits package that demonstrates our commitment to the well-being of our employees, including health insurance and vacation benefits. I think the old adage “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” applies here as well.

The UAW is trying to paint a picture in which Alabama workers will have fewer rights and protections in the future. Their tactics include rules that strip employers of their right to speak freely with employees. For the UAW, organizing the Hyundai plant is more important than maintaining principles of transparency and informed decision-making. Our team members are competent and able to make their own decisions.

Another tactic employed by unions is to promote card checks as a way to determine union representation. This process denies workers the privacy of secret voting and exposes them to undue pressure, coercion, and intimidation. It is essential to maintain the integrity of the voting process and allow workers to express their preferences without outside influence.

History records numerous allegations of mishandling of funds obtained from dues-paying members, with serious questions regarding accountability and transparency. Unions are not obligated to use dues solely for the benefit of workers, raising concerns about how these funds are allocated. I read this morning that the organization trying to organize Hyundai and Korea is putting $40 million into this effort. oh! The right-to-work laws we have in place provide some protections for workers, but they are not foolproof.

Even in states where labor rights are guaranteed, unions can still exert significant influence over workplace dynamics, stifle individual autonomy, and impede direct communication between workers and management. There is sex.

As someone who has witnessed firsthand the positive impact international automakers have on our communities, I urge Alabamians to carefully consider the implications of unionizing. Although unions claim to offer greater bargaining power, the reality may be quite different. For example, the Teamsters recently celebrated a major negotiating victory against UPS, where he announced 12,000 layoffs, citing the delivery company's unsustainable labor costs.

The UAW values ​​promises, but it also offers workers a dangerous deal. Joining a union comes with many potential drawbacks, including reduced privacy, limited communication, and no guarantee of job protection. In fact, layoffs are often the norm after major unionization efforts, especially in the northern regions of our country. We don't want another “rust belt.”

The UAW's expansion plans at the Alabama Hyundai plant pose significant risks to workers and the broader community. It is essential that employees have access to accurate information to make informed decisions about their future, while maintaining the principles of freedom and autonomy in the workplace.

Tell your friends and colleagues to work together to maintain the economic vitality and prosperity of our communities for generations to come.

Todd Strange is a businessman who served two terms as mayor of Montgomery.

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