ATLANTA, Georgia (CW69 news at 10 am) – Members of the Unemployed Workers’ Congregation marched from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to the Department of Labor on July 21, 2021. They also held a so-called “Not So Happy Birthday Party” for Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “We ask the Governor and Mark Butler to open the Department of Labor on the day of his birth and restore the pandemic benefits to our workers,” said Sandra Williams, executive director of the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council.

The Unemployment Assembly includes the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council, the Georgia Raise Campaign of the New Georgia Project, the Georgia Unemployment and Labor Issues Facebook Community, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Atlanta.

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On June 26, the pandemic controls ended for several hundred thousand unemployed. Workers’ representatives say Butler and Governor Brian Kemp did not provide workable solutions. In a press release, the Unemployment Convention also blamed the U.S. and Georgia chambers of commerce:

Spurred on by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s false story that the $ 300 federal pandemic unemployment benefit is keeping workers at home and creating a labor shortage, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce urged Governor Kemp and Commissioner Butler to opt out of the federal program. The GA Chamber of Commerce’s PAC tends to support elected officials who are guided by their business-friendly values ​​at the expense of workers. COVID unemployed refute this false narrative that vilified them in their struggle for survival.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce did not respond to CW69’s request for comment.

“We don’t get rich from unemployment. The system doesn’t allow us to do that, ”said Lauren Crace, an unemployed worker. “Those career centers are still closed 17 months later,” said Nicole Horn, a Democratic candidate running for Labor Commissioner’s seat. “They’re now taking in people who are way behind the 8-ball,” said Sharon Corpening, a representative for Unarbeited Action.

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After the march, Butler’s office released this statement on CW69:

While the average ordinary Georgians are back to work, these individuals have refused and demanded that they be paid not to work. Employ Georgia has a record number of jobs that pay as much, if not more, than they were paid when unemployed. It is hypocritical that these groups ask everyone else to go back to work, and they don’t have to.

Unemployed people say too many of these jobs are outdated, don’t pay enough, or require experience. “We’ll remember every last Democrat and every last Republican when it comes to voting,” said Marcellus Rowe, another unemployed man.

Kemp’s office responded with this statement:

With Georgia returning to normal with hundreds of thousands of jobs across the state, it is vitally important for more Georgians to get back into work. Thanks to Governor Kemp’s efforts to protect both lives and livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia’s unemployment rate of 4.0% is the lowest of the ten most populous states and has been falling for fourteen straight months.

His office also mentioned that these unemployed are still eligible for state unemployment benefits. Labor advocates say it still doesn’t address the issues. “Please raise wages. Never stop looking for the truth, ”said Queen Sheba, a spoken word artist.

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Williams said the works council is working to ensure the COVID unemployed receive all pending pandemic unemployment checks.