Unfortunately, in the last decades working people have lost a lot of their bargaining power. But this Labor Day, we have a chance to build the power of the labor movement in our state by gearing up for what could be the most important elections in Georgia’s modern history.
At the forefront, as a 2020 battleground state, we have the opportunity this fall to participate in what could potentially be some of the most important elections we’ve ever seen in Georgia’s modern history.
If the events over the last month are an indication of anything, it is that our state is due for a major overhaul in how it treats its workers. In July, while our unemployment rate skyrocketed, tens of thousands of Georgians waited — some up to five months — to receive life-saving benefits while the list of excuses from the Georgia Department of Labor grew.
I’ve been witness to the groups of protesters who have used their collective voice, much like is done in a union, to demand answers from the GDOL. One of their signs summed it up better than I ever could: “What’s the difference between the department of labor’s customer service and the cable company’s customer service? You can actually speak to someone at the cable company.” Enough said.
That’s why this Labor Day, whether it’s time to come in after a day at the pool, sign off after a Zoom call with loved ones, or close down a grill after a long barbecue, let’s make sure to reflect on our state’s honest, good, working people, and the road still ahead of us. It’s time we elect members of Congress who will hold our elected officials accountable and demand change for our backward systems. It’s time for a better Georgia.
Charlie Flemming is president, Georgia AFL-CIO.