Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Gift of Workers' Voices.

In the state of Georgia and the "right to work" South it is rare to hear the voice of workers in the media, at public events and through the internet.  The roots of this silence run deep, and, like most things are not kept in place by chance.  In order to lift the power of Georgia workers... the voices, interests, dreams and priorities of GA workers must be amplified from the church pulpit to the Atlanta Journal Constitution to the workplace floor to the neighborhood association meeting and through our very own social networks and self made media.  Workers must be front and center owning their own narrative.

We at Atlanta Jobs with Justice wanted to highlight two examples of GA workers taking charge and having their own voices heard:

1*) A recent piece of media coverage on CBS Atlanta that did in fact highlight the hard working school workers of Georgia....  The event covered is part of the Atlanta Jobs with Justice "Justice for School Workers" campaign that seeks to 1) reinstate earned unemployment benefits for all Georgia school workers (with back pay) and 2)  develop union organizing drives in impacted workplaces and 3) develop student organizations to fight alongside campus workers.

Click HERE for coverage that highlights two workers that have led the statewide Justice for School Workers campaign in GA. A 20 year Sodexo food service worker at Georgia Tech and a First Student Teamster bus driver in Savannah, GA.

2*) Atlanta Jobs with Justice has established a Workers' Rights Board comprised of faith, community, labor and academic leaders who use their position in the community to leverage the voices and agency of workers against injustice in the workplace and in support of the right to organize.  These leaders listen to the stories of workers, issue recommendations, lead letter delegations and organize their base(s) to broaden and deepen support for GA workers.  This August, we held a kick off event for the Atlanta Jobs with Justice Workers' Rights Board called the "People's Court"  GA school workers were put front and center, articulating their hardships as well as the path forward for the Justice for School Workers campaign and efforts to hold rogue Labor Commissioner Mark Butler to some level of decency.

Of all the gifts that one can give to a loved one...  We would like to share the gift of GA workers articulating their need(s) and vision. In the coming year, let it be a task for all of us to prioritize the voice(s) of those who make our economy tick... The voice of GA workers.

Photo courtesy of Sean Moore

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