It would also prevent access to economic incentives, such as tax credits for jobs on large projects and access to grants, for businesses that provide labor unions their workers’ contact information, even though that is a provision under the National Labor Relations Act.
Supporters of the proposal say the bill would not preempt federal law or impact current agreements that unions have with employers. Employers could still choose to voluntarily recognize unions, but they would not be eligible for the incentives.
Hodges said his father was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and that he would not have carried the bill if it “in any way, shape or form is injurious to unions or union members.”
However, because secret ballot elections take longer to conduct, critics of the legislation said employers would have more time to intimidate workers against voting in support of a union through required employee meetings, where employers often deter union membership. Voluntary recognition allows unions to begin negotiating with companies immediately, and card checks are usually a proxy to demonstrate worker support for a union.
“Union representatives advocate for fair wages and safe working conditions and make sure that the interests of workers are fairly represented,” said Sen. Donzella James, a Democrat from Atlanta. “This bill rewards business owners who make it more difficult for our working Georgians to speak up for themselves.”
Opponents also say a perceived conflict with federal law could open Georgia up to a lawsuit, and “Georgia taxpayers will ultimately pay the bill,” said Sen. Jason Esteves, a Democrat from Atlanta.
This bill would discourage unions from expanding in the state and from “holding big business accountable,” he said.