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Labor Advocates Demand Unemployment, Minimum Wage Changes At Atlanta Job Fair

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- The fight for unemployment help and higher wages continues, as local organizations and legislators are demand that Governor Brian Kemp and Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler step up and address workers' concerns.

The Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council hosted a job fair for unemployed workers and a booth providing vaccines to help fight COVID-19. Organizers say a different kind of pandemic is also plaguing Georgia. "The Governor and the Commissioner Mark Butler made a decision to withhold the pandemic unemployment assistance that was federally mandated," said Sandra Williams, the council's executive director.

Community leaders and legislators called the decision immoral at a press conference outside the job fair. "We have too many workers that, for one, didn't get their pandemic relief, needed the pandemic relief or the relief was short," said District 6 Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdul-Rahman. "We will remember that elections do matter." Unemployed journalist, Sharon Corpening, who is also a representative for Unemployed Action, spoke on behalf of front line workers. "You depended on them when you needed them most and you have failed them. This time, they are not gonna take it lying down."

They've reached out to legislators in Washington, calling for good jobs and livable wages. "It's time for that $15 dollars and hour and a union here in Georgia," said Reverend Harriet Bradley, a home care worker advocate.

"We are the second from the bottom of all the states for the lowest wages," said State Representative El-Mahdi Holly (D-Dist. 111). He added, "People need to be able to have the money they worked for returned to them.

Dr. Paul Fortson spoke on behalf of the Fulton County Solicitor General's office, which prosecutes and oversees misdemeanor cases in the criminal justice system. "Once you have taken accountability and responsibility for a mistake you have made, we believe that you ought to be able to take care of yourself and then your family," he said. "The American Dream is being able to engage in restorative justice, and once you have the opportunity to have life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you should have it."

Organizers also want legislation to remove a chokehold of corporate interests and politics from the state's financial system. "We have other actions planned, and our voices will be heard," Williams said. They're planning to hold a Day of Action and a march to the State Capitol next week. Those who missed out on the job fair can call the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council at 404-525-3559 for information on employment opportunities.

There was no immediate response from Butler's office. Kemp's office declined to specifically comment on the labor organizations' ongoing unemployment and minimum wage concerns. The office responded with the following list of available resources:

Resources for specific individuals:

Single mothers
Assistance for Single Mothers in Georgia
The Atlanta Women's Foundation

Single fathers
Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services- Fatherhood Program

Recent college graduates
College Recruiter

Recent high school graduates
GA Futures
USA Jobs

USA Jobs
Hire A Veteran
Military Hire

Living with disability or family member
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation program
USA Jobs
Parent to Parent of Georgia

Entrepreneurs & small business owners
Small Business Association training programs

Atlanta residents:
Worksource Atlanta

Listings and resources by industry:

Service industries
Webstaurant Store, Savannah, Ga.
Interfor, Baxley, Eatonton, Peachtree City, Perry, Ga.

Georgia Department of Public Health
Area Health Education Center: Health Careers in Georgia

Georgia Technology Authority
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Randstad USA, Atlanta, Ga.

Atlanta Jobs in Business

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