Saturday, April 13, 2013

Great coverage of GA Teamsters organizing the unorganized

Georgia Teamsters in Local 728 are doing a great job organizing the unorganized even in a No Rights At Work state.

About 70 DeKalb County sanitation workers showed up on Tuesday at a County Commission meeting to demand a union. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:

The turnout of workers in their neon yellow safety shirts — some taking a break from work — was just a fraction of the 411 employees who have petitioned commissioners to recognize Teamsters Local 728, an existing union in the region that DeKalb’s sanitation workers wish to join. Some invoked the (Rev. Martin Luther) King in explaining their main concerns: safety and dignity on the job. 
“I know most people don’t think about the trash when they put it out in the morning, because it’s gone when they come home,” said Angelo Williams, a driver who has worked for DeKalb for more than 12 years. “We do an excellent job in DeKalb. But we need an advocate so we can safely continuously serve this county.”...
It looks as if they'll get what they want:
DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, acknowledged the difficult work during brief comments to workers. Ellis reminded the workers that he had ordered his administrators to allow unionizing efforts and said there would be no repercussions against workers who were involved in the initiative. 
Commissioners, too, said they supported the right to join a union. The real hurdle: the legal question of how to allow union membership while honoring a local law that does not allow dues to be automatically deducted from employee pay. 
Working out that process could take months. So, too, could the separate question of one-time raises for the lowest-paid county workers, including haulers who can earn as little as $20,000 a year. 
Stand strong and stand together!