Friday, October 24, 2014

#WageExposed Worker Speakout & Election Forum

Atlanta Jobs with Justice kicked off its Low-Wage Workers Table by hosting the #WageExposed Worker Speakout and Election Forum on October 16th.

To start the speakout we honored our great leader and one of the original founders of Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Reverend James Orange. Our Organizing Director, Neil Sardana read a statement from Atlanta Jobs with Justice detailing his legacy of organizing and building leadership within the Atlanta community and in particular in support in building the Atlanta Jobs with Justice coalition. Reverend Orange's son Cleon Orange was in attendance to receive the dedication and tribute to his father on behalf of the Orange Family.

Reverend Greg Fann from AFSCME Local 3 moderated the #WageExposed event and introduced the panel of workers struggling for higher wages and respect on their jobs. The worker panel consisted of 5 workers who shared their personal struggles and organizing efforts as members of worker organizations that are affiliates of the Atlanta JwJ Coalition.

Speaking on the Worker Panel:
(Pictured above from left to right)
Valerie Redmond - NDWA Atlanta
Bernice Hancock - UNITE HERE 23
Colleen Higgins - 9 to 5 Atlanta
Chanel Simpson - Home Care Fight for 15
Antwon Brown - ATL Raise Up

We had two candidates running for GA statewide elected offices in attendance listening to and hearing testimony from the workers: Robbin Shipp running for Georgia Labor Commissioner and Daniel Blackmon running for Georgia Public Service Commission.

After the worker panel, we hosted an election forum for the candidates in attendance. They were each asked 6 questions by the workers on the panel representing the concerns and issues facing the organizations those workers represent. 
  1. ATL Raise Up & Home Care Fight For 15: Will you do whatever it takes to help workers win $15 and hour and a union?
  2. UNITE HERE Local 23: Do you commit to fighting for a living wage for all workers at the Atlanta Airport? Also, Where do you stand on raising the minimum wage and what steps will they take if elected to make it happen?
  3. 9 to 5 Working Women Atlanta: Do you support policies like Ban the Box and other efforts to end employment discrimination against the formerly incarcerated?
  4. IATSE LOCAL 927: What will you do to address the misclassification of Georgian Workers?
  5. National Domestic Workers Alliance Atlanta Chapter: If elected, what do you plan to do to address the gap in health care left by our state not expanding Medicaid?
  6. Atlanta Jobs with Justice: Are you willing to push for the reversal of unemployment benefit cuts to Georgia's School Workers? In what ways would you be willing to support these workers who will in crisis when they no longer will receive their unemployment benefits?

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