Monday, April 22, 2013

Photos from the March to Defend Unemployment Benefits !

Hundreds of school workers from different work sites, students, organizations marching together...

Spelman Student Ayanna Spencer Speaking Out in support of campus workers!

Agnes Scott Students and Workers Marching.

Group picture in-front of the Sam Nunn Federal Building in Atlanta, GA

Lisa Lewis with AFSCME 1644, Sodexo food service for Atlanta Public Schools Speaking out.

Monday, April 15, 2013

March to Defend Unemployment Benefits this Saturday is Critical, Here's Why:

The GA Labor Commissioner was forced to shift his stance around unemployment benefits to GA school workers to the tune of 8 million dollars in back pay to 4,000 GA school workers.  This is huge!  However, it is more critical than ever that we come together this Saturday to turn up the heat and hold the GA Department of Labor (DoL) accountable.

Why?
1) It remains unclear where the 4,000 number emerged from.  We believe this number is low and that more GA school workers should be receiving wrongfully denied unemployment benefits.  Some school workers stopped applying for the benefits because they knew the GA Department of Labor was not dispersing benefits. School workers should not be penalized for following information sent by the GA DoL !
2) The mechanics of the disbursement remain unclear.  We are hearing mixed results from school workers regarding their back payments  **To GA School Workers, please reply to this e-mail or call our office at 404-913-9595 if you have received any communication from the GA DoL.  It is important that we monitor the situation closely.
3) GA Labor Commissioner Mark Butler has already stated he will push legislation next year to deny school workers their unemployment benefits.  We must continue organizing for full and fair employment now.
4) It is through organization that we beat back an attack on working Georgians by a statewide politician...  It will be through organization that we continue to push for respect for all GA school workers.  We must come together to discuss union organizing and student organizing strategies moving forward.
5) Although it is implied that GA school workers will be able to receive unemployment benefits when laid off this upcoming summer, we want a written and clear confirmation from the GA DoL that this is the case.

All that being said....  The time to unite with GA school workers and students from across the state is this Saturday April 20th at 12:00 pm.We will gather at the Atlanta University Center (AUC) right in-front of Clark Atlanta University on the Promenade, 223 James P. Brawley Dr. SW Atlanta, GA.  There is a visitor parking deck one block east at the corner of Mildred St. and Atlanta Student Movement Blvd.  We will march 1.6 miles to the US DoL offices on Forsyth St. in Atlanta. For folks that cannot march that far we will have transportation from the AUC to the US DoL Office.  Following the march there will be a gathering of GA school workers and students on Spelman's campus to talk out next steps.

There will be a membership drive for Atlanta Jobs with Justice with a reduced cost of $5.00 to become a dues paying member during the march.  Take advantage of this opportunity to get further plugged into the movement for working people in GA.

Please spread the word!  Especially to impacted GA school workers...  If there are any questions please call the Atlanta Jobs with Justice office at 404-913-9595.

Justice for School Workers !

Friday, April 5, 2013

Victory!! 8 MILLION DOLLARS for GA School Workers! We couldn't have done it with out your support!

VICTORY!!

All of your work, actions, calls, prayers, struggling, pushing and pulling has all, finally, paid off!! Yesterday evening on this historic anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, workers have won a massive victory in the State of GA!

Due to our efforts Mark Butler, the GA Labor Commissioner, is required pay back more than 8 MILLION DOLLARS in unemployment compensation to school workers who were unlawfully denied their benefits last year.
 
Furthermore, we were able to reverse Mark Butler's unlawful rule change that denied these workers their fair compensation.  School workers throughout the State of GA are now eligible again to recieve unemployment benefits during school breaks including this year's upcoming summer break.
Finally, through all this struggle Mark Butler showed has some semblance of respect for the workers. Quoted in the Rome News Tribune he said: "These workers deserve to be paid year-round just like their publicly-employed counterparts. Instead, their employers underpay them...".

However we must not get complacent, Mark Butler has publicly stated in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he will seek to deny these workers their unemployment benefits again next year by passing a bill similar to SB227/HB361. SB227/HB361 would have made the denials of unemployment benefits for school workers permanent under GA law, however from your support we were recently able to prevent this bill from passing.

We must be vigilant and remain strong together to stand up to any attacks from Mark Butler and others who seek to attack hard working people and deny them rights and dignity.

Lastly, we must congratulate all the hardworking school workers who stood strong during this difficult year and struck with the struggle everyday. Also, we must thank the US Department of Labor for standing up for struggling workers in GA and for requiring that GA Labor Commissioner Mark Butler return the earned unemployment benefits that were owed to the school workers.