State Secretary Peter Simpson said members with links to criminal motorcycle gangs had begun to raise concerns with him about their ability to keep doing their job once the amendments to the Electrical Safety Act, passed as part of Criminal Organisations Disruption legislation, comes into effect.
"I've never even been spoken to by the police, but now I am probably going to lose my job? It makes no sense to me
Anyone who has declared their membership to a prescribed club, through words or action, sought to have been a member, or attended one or more meetings or gatherings of people who are members or associates, is in danger of losing their electrical licence or not having it renewed.
No licence means no job.
“I have spoken to some ETU members, who are members of the Rebels, members of the Black Uhlans and the Hells Angels and have been for many years," he said.
"And in most cases the people I have spoken to, their families are members as well so they won't be able to renew their electrical licences.
“So we have electricians with no criminal record having their honest livelihoods taken off them.
“What that is in turn doing is driving them into crime. Imagine being an electrician in a regional area, like a lot of our guys are, working in construction or in the mines.
They lose their electrical licence, they lose that job, what are they supposed to do? Where do they go get work? It is a disgrace.
“We are not trying to stick up for criminals. If people are breaching the law, if they are dealing drugs, using intimidation tactics, or harassing them or bullying, good on them, they should go to jail.
"But the existing laws provided for that. There is no need for this outrageous legislation, especially these amendments about taking people's livelihoods off them. It is just disgraceful.”
Of the union's 15,000 members, Mr Simpson estimated the amendments would impact 200, but expected the ripple effect across the building industry to mean more unions would join the High Court challenge.
Acting Attorney-General David Crisafulli said the change to the legislation was about community safety.
“The criminal gangs had sadly infiltrated a range of businesses and used them as either fronts or vehicles to commit other crimes,” he said.
"Until our changes, criminal motorcycle gang members could work in our homes, change our locks and guard our homes and business.
“Cleaning up these industries is a win for everyone because businesses will be trusted and customers will know they are being served by a law abiding professional.
“All criminal gang members need to do to keep or gain a permit or licence is quit their club and lead a law abiding life. We want them to get real, honest jobs.”
But an electrician who spoke to Fairfax Media on the condition he would remain anonymous, said his legal advice disputed that.
“I went to see a solicitor who said it wouldn't make a scrap of difference if I resigned from my club,” the man, who has no criminal record, said.
“The first thing I tried to do was leave my club, because I will always look after my family first, but my solicitor said it wouldn't make an iota of difference because they have written into the law that if you leave, you are still an associate.
“Once you have been tarred with the brush, you are tarred forever.”
The man said he had joined the club because his friends were members and it had become a surrogate family.
However he said as the main breadwinner for his family, and having worked as an electrician all his working life, his options if he lost his licence were limited.
“I love Queensland," he said. "I am as Queensland as they come. I don't want to be kicked out of my state, especially when I haven't done anything wrong.
"I want to raise my kids here.
“I'm really struggling to wrap my head around what is happening. I've been an electrician for 20 years. I've never been unemployed. I've worked my way up to being a high-voltage electrician.
“I'm not, for want of a better word, a dumb arse. I'm a very good electrician, but I am also a member of a prescribed club and have been for 10 years.
"I've never even been spoken to by the police, but now I am probably going to lose my job? It makes no sense to me.
“I've worked my arse off to get to where I am, to provide a nice house and car for my family, I have sacrificed for everything we've got and to give my family everything they need. And now? I don't understand it. I just don't.”