Thanks to the efforts of Local 728 in Atlanta, unemployment benefits to thousands of seasonally jobless workers in Georgia have been protected. In early April, the state announced it will pay more than $8 million in unemployment benefits to more than 4,000 seasonally jobless workers who were denied payments last year by the state’s commissioner of labor.
Teamsters represent school bus drivers who work for private companies. Traditionally they collect unemployment benefits when they're laid off over the summer. But recently, state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler decided they didn’t have to be paid.
Butler tried to get a law passed in the state House of Representatives that would ban the unemployment benefits. Local 728 worked hard to successfully remove language that would have denied the benefits. Local 728 organized affected workers and spread the word about the attempt to deny benefits.
After the state House of Representatives failed to act on legislation that would have denied workers the payment, Butler agreed to the $8 million payment.
“We mobilized our members and people in the community about the state’s attempt to deny these benefits to workers,” said Randy Brown, Local 728 President. “These workers, which include our members, depend on those benefits to get through the year. We were committed to shining light on this injustice and get it stopped. When our members are threatened, we take action.”
Brown said his local’s efforts did not just benefit Teamsters, the efforts helped all workers.
“We fight for Teamsters, but we delivered for all affected Georgia workers,” he said.