Saturday, June 30, 2012

School Workers Speak Out, Demand Meeting with Labor Commissioner.

Teachers, students, trade unionists, unorganized workers, community members and others came out in force to the Georgia Department of Labor earlier today to speak out against the sudden removal of unemployment benefits for contracted school workers across Georgia.  This change will impact thousands of hard working Georgians.

Alvin Edwards a school bus driver in Savannah, GA spoke out: "Not only are these drivers and monitors throughout the state of Georgia being effected by this... But our most precious cargo, our most precious entity, which is our children are directly effected by the decision of just a few people."

Our school systems (and school children) will lose experienced school bus drivers and food service workers if this change stands and workers are forced to find new jobs.

Kelley Grant a food service worker at Agnes Scott spoke out saying "I have been stressing, I have been worrying.  What am I going to do?"  Most workers were given little to no warning to prepare for the removal of their income over the summer.

Following the speak out the participants entered the Department of Labor to discuss the pressing issues directly with the Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler (the man that decided to remove the benefits).  At first, it was promised that someone would come down to dialogue with the workers.  However, they later rescinded their offer, stating that workers should just reapply for their unemployment.  Upon hearing this we decided that we would all sign in and go up to Mark Butler's office to engage with him directly.  After signing in we were barred from entering further into the building by security.

Earlier in the week we had requested a meeting with Mark Butler so he knew that we were coming.  It is telling that Mark Butler (an elected public official) was unwilling to engage with his constituents and the people that are being directly impacted by his decisions.  We will most certainly be back to seek resolution to this crisis.

Please sign and share the petition against these unemployment cuts.

Media Coverage:
Channel 2 WSBTV
Rome News Tribune Pre Rally
Rome News Tribune Post Rally