Georgia Governor Signs Bill Attacking Business Who Voluntarily Recognize Unions

Originally published in Labor Today

On April 2, the Georgia state Senate sent a bill to the desk of Governor Brian Kemp that will punish businesses for voluntarily recognizing unions. Under federal law, American workers have the right to hold union elections overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. The results of these elections are legally binding and force companies to recognize unions.

However, the process of securing and holding these elections is lengthy, and business owners often opt to voluntarily recognize unions when there is overwhelming support for one. If signed into law, Georgia SB 362 would specifically bar these businesses from tax credits for jobs associated with large-scale projects (Code Section 48-7-40.24), state community development program funds from the Department of Community Affairs (Code Section 50-8-8), and incentives through the OneGeorgia Authority (Code Section 50-34-1 through 50-34-19). The bill was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on April 23. Kemp openly opposes the growth of unions in Georgia. A joint statement issued by him and other southern governors declares this opposition in the name of “protecting businesses”.

At the same time, laws like SB 362 attack businesses that voluntarily choose to recognize unions. These contradictory actions reveal that the State of Georgia is not primarily concerned with providing workers with jobs through the nurturing of businesses but is interested in keeping Georgia workers in a weak position.