Anti-worker politicians in Georgia are taking their war on workers to a whole new level. The labor commissioner is withholding unemployment benefits for school workers laid off in the summer, and now the Legislature is considering a bill to ban them.
Teamsters Local 728 is fighting hard against this blatant attack. They're challenging the labor commissioner in the courts and they're lobbying lawmakers. They even plan a march from Atlanta to the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington on April 20.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that state lawmakers are taking the attacks even further. Other parts of the same bill would allow union members who want to freeload -- drop out of the union but still get the benefits -- to do so whenever they want.
The state Senate approved a measure that would make changes to Georgia’s labor laws, including a proposed ban on whether some employees such as school bus drivers would qualify for unemployment benefits.
The 36-16 vote along party lines Monday sends House Bill 361 back to the House for consideration because it was changed in committee. Opponents on Tuesday said the General Assembly’s own lawyer warned that the bill could be unconstitutional, but supporters were unmoved.
HB 361 would additionally allow workers to opt out at any time from automatic payroll deductions for union dues — although it exempts certain groups, including MARTA workers, teachers, law enforcement officers and firefighters. Current law says workers must have only an annual option to opt out.
The ban on jobless benefits in the bill affects seasonally unemployed bus drivers and other private sector workers whose employers contract with public sector entities such as school systems. Supporters said it is expected to save the state up to $10 million annually.Georgians, you can send an email to your representatives here to urge them to vote no on these attacks on workers.