Sean P. Redmond Sean P. Redmond
Vice President, Labor Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 19, 2024


Several years ago, the U.S. Chamber issued a report that highlighted the phenomenon of state and local governments requiring private sector employers to secure a “labor peace” agreement with a union as a condition of doing business at a facility or project in which the government asserts a “proprietary interest.” This phenomenon is generally found in jurisdictions where the political allies of organized labor are in charge and want to shift policy to make it easier for unions to organize.  

The fundamental purpose of labor peace agreements is to compel an employer to grant concessions to a union, concessions they otherwise would be unlikely to make. This can include recognizing the union by card check instead of a secret ballot election, remaining neutral when it comes to unionizing, or giving outside union organizers access to the workplace. For employers and employees alike, these agreements are inherently coercive.

Other states are starting to pick up on this tactic used by labor’s allies and employ the same theory to protect workers’ rights instead, which is a positive development. For instance, the legislature in Georgia is currently considering Senate Bill (SB) 362, which says that in order to be eligible to receive an economic development incentive, an employer cannot do certain things with respect to any work or service for which the incentive is to be based.

More specifically, the bill would prohibit such an employer from voluntarily recognizing a union by use of signed authorization cards, i.e., card check, in lieu of a secret ballot election. Unions often attempt to collect these cards from employees using pressure tactics or outright deception and then demand recognition from the employer. By allowing workers to vote privately, SB 362 prevents potential intimidation and ensures that employee decisions reflect their genuine sentiments. 

SB 362 also would prohibit employers from disclosing employees’ personal information to a union or an entity acting on behalf of a union without the employees’ written consent unless it is required by another state or federal law. This would protect employees from having unwanted visits at their homes or harassing phone calls, which are a couple of the ways that union organizers employ the aforementioned pressure tactics.

Supporters of SB 362 emphasize the need to maintain Georgia’s economic competitiveness. By offering incentives to businesses, the state attracts investments, encourages job creation, and bolsters local economies.

These incentives range from tax breaks to infrastructure support, and SB 362 seeks to strike a balance by ensuring that labor representation processes do not hinder economic growth. By requiring secret ballot elections, SB 362 aims to provide clarity and predictability, which can attract more companies to Georgia while at the same time protecting employees. 

Tennessee passed a bill very similar to SB 362 last year, and the Georgia Senate has already passed it. It is progressing in the Georgia House and seems poised to pass. Hopefully, that will happen, and other states will follow suit.

About the authors

Sean P. Redmond

Sean P. Redmond

Sean P. Redmond is Vice President, Labor Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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