Kemp plans to make it harder for Georgia workers to organize and form unions – WABE

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said earlier this week that he hopes to slow the labor movement in Georgia this legislative session and announced plans to propose legislation that could make it harder for workers to form unions.

On Wednesday, Kemp spoke to hundreds of business leaders and elected officials at the Georgia Chamber's annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Georgians have a right to opportunities. We will defend this right against the big encroachments or the abuses of big government and big unions,” Kemp said.

Currently, companies in the state can recognize union representation without elections. Under the proposed law, companies that do this will have to forego government incentives.

“What the governor made clear today was that if people want to engage in unionization, we want to make sure that people have the right to do so in the privacy of their own vote,” said Chris Clark, president and CEO from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce shortly after the event.

Additionally, Hannah Perkins of the Georgia AFL-CIO stated in a recent press release that the governor's comments were a “slap in the face to the millions of his constituents.”

“Unions are growing in Georgia,” said Yvonne Brooks, president of the Georgia State AFL-CIO. “The number of union members has been growing every year since 2011. And I suspect there will be a big jump when the numbers come out this year.”

Brooks believes Kemp's speech reflects fears about the growing interest in union membership here, noting that Georgia has been at the center of successful organizing efforts, such as the Teamsters at UPS and the Screen Actors Guild actors.

She expects more campaigns to be launched this year.