Kemp Joins Southern Republican Governors to Interfere in Protected Workplace Election

April 19, 2024

As SB 362 — an anti-worker bill Governor Brian Kemp boasted about and endorsed in a January speech to the Chamber of Commerce — awaits his signature, this week Kemp made his hostility towards working people clear. Kemp, joined by five other Republican governors, attempted to sway a federally-protected workplace election in an “unprecedented and shocking” way, warning workers as they were set to cast ballots on whether to join United Auto Workers (UAW) that doing so would put “jobs in jeopardy.”

“Governor Kemp, already poised to break federal labor laws once he signs SB 362, was at it again this week when he threatened the jobs of workers exercising their federally-protected right to vote for better workplace representation, increased negotiating power, and improved benefits,” said DPG Communications Director Dave Hoffman. “It’s bad enough that the person elected to enforce our laws admits he will only do so for his own personal political gain; when one considers that Georgia taxpayers pay the legal costs of the Attorney General’s office defending Kemp’s illegal actions in federal court, it’s much worse.”

Last November, following “hot labor summer,” UAW members ratified new contracts with the “Big Three” automakers that included 25% raises over 4.5 years. According to the UAW, had the profit-sharing formula used at Ford been negotiated on behalf of the VW employees voting this week, some of whom live across the border in Georgia, “each VW worker would have received a 2023 [profit-sharing] check of $23,000.”

Stephen Silvia, an American University political science professor whose research focuses on labor employment relations, believes the joint statement “implies that the governors fear that the UAW will prevail in the upcoming union recognition election and that UAW success could upend their economic models built on relatively low pay and minimal worker voice.”

In Georgia, SB 362 is a direct attack on workers, businesses, and labor unions that will disqualify any business voluntarily recognizing a labor union in their workplace from receiving state economic incentives – a violation of federal labor law that puts Georgia taxpayers on the hook to pay all the legal fees the state will spend defending their overreach in court. 


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