The Georgia model for putting workers’ rights ahead of union demands

The United Auto Workers’ endorsement of Joe Biden’s reelection was in large part payback for the president’s efforts to help organize southern automakers. The Biden administration has issued a slew of policies that will enable the UAW to make inroads at factories that have repeatedly rejected union representation. Most notably and recently, in its Cemex decision last August, the National Labor Relations Board made it easier for unions to ignore workplace elections while publicly intimidating workers into supporting unionization.

Georgia is going in the opposite direction, putting workers’ rights ahead of union demands. It’s on the verge of enacting a law that would guarantee secret-ballot elections at automakers and parts manufacturers. The Peach State’s pending reform should spread nationwide.

Georgia, like many southern states, is fast becoming an automaking hub. Kia, Hyundai, and Rivian have announced plans to build major factories there, while battery companies and suppliers are also flocking to the state. The state is giving significant economic-development incentives to many of these companies, helping them set up shop with taxpayer support. If lawmakers are going to offer special support for select companies, they can simultaneously protect workers’ right to a secret ballot.

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