Friday, February 8, 2013

ATL Student City Wide Action Happening Right Now

Students from 6 Atlanta colleges and universities are delivering letters to their respective university presidents demanding action to address the crisis in unemployment benefits for GA School Workers including campus food service workers, bus drivers, janitors and others.  Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler continues to violate basic state and federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) guidelines and the United States Department of Labor continues to let him do it.  Atlanta students and workers have said enough is enough and are demanding action now.  The letter is below:


Check out the action on Twitter: #letter2thepresidents


Dear
President Elizabeth Kiss of Agnes Scott College,
President Carlton E. Brown of Clark Atlanta University,
President James W. Wagner of Emory University,
President Mark P. Becker of Georgia State University,
President John S. Wilson, Jr. of Morehouse College,
President Beverly D. Tatum of Spelman College:

Colleges and universities furnish students with skills and knowledge to contribute to society. Classes, activities, and events all go towards making well-rounded students. Students are instilled with a sense of social responsibility to be utilized for positive social change within their communities and around the world. We have acknowledged the obligation we have, and we hope you will understand the obligation you all have by the end of this letter.
As students, we take advantage of the workers who serve us every single day. These are some of the most hard-working individuals on campus. There is always a private contract worker actively present working on something to better the lives of students, faculty, and staff. The workers on our campuses depend on their very small wages to provide the necessities for their families and themselves. The unemployment benefits they depend on when students are on break were denied under a reinterpretation of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. This impacted over 64,000 private contract workers across the state of Georgia.
As students with personal relationships with workers on our campuses, we heard how their lives were affected by the decision first hand. One worker informed us that she and her children were evicted from their home. She had to depend on others to help her take care of her own children. Another worker was forced to use all of her savings for herself and five adopted children. Within two weeks all of her savings were completely gone. Imagine the mental and physical burden workers have been faced with each day they come to campus. They are unsure if they will have something to eat after work, or if they will be able to feed their own children. Some campus workers tried to write an appeal to their companies, and the Georgia Department of Labor, but nothing changed. At the end of their stories all they could do is ask for our help.
We are committed to helping our workers, and making sure they receive the unemployment benefits in which they are entitled. We are reaching out to you, the leaders of our institutions, to ask you for support. We recognize your influence in the state of Georgia and as a leader of these prestigious institutions. You are the primary image and representative of our schools, and not standing up for workers on our campus is a direct threat to the legacy of our schools. We challenge you, the presidents of our institutions to make a public statement on behalf of your students in support of the workers, to hold a meeting for campus workers and students, and to consistently take actions that will reinstate campus workers unemployment benefits. Please, take action now.

Sincerely,

Students of Atlanta