Since 2012 the Labor Department Commissioner Mark Butler (R) has targeted the lower middle-class and poor as a way to improve the States Unemployment Insurance Fund with Governor Deals (R) backing. What Butler and Deal have done is to deny those employed in part-time "as-needed" workers Unemployment compensation despite a strongly worded letter from the Federal DoL informing them they were violating Federal Guidelines. They began their attack by focusing on janitors, bus drivers, and crossing guards who work for companies contracted by school districts. Typically, these employees were laid off during summer months when schools were not in session and drew their unemployment during that time. This has been the standard operating procedure for decades since the outsourcing began. When Butler and Deal realized they were facing a budget shortfall, they decided to eliminate these "seasonal workers" UI benefits. In order to ensure that their actions were legal and to avoid having to pay back benefits again to these workers, th eUI law was re-written to specifically exclude them from receiving benefits. Thanks to the Republican Judges sitting on the Superior Court, their actions have been deemed legal each and every time they were challenged.
A new twist has appeared upon the horizon. One of those challenges came from a nurse who was also working on an "as-needed" basis. The case made it to the Superior Court where the presiding Republican Judge upheld the denial of the nurses benefits, basing his decision on the same court case involving the school workers. As of now, the Georgia Department of Labor has begun routinely denying the claims of "seasonal" employees--no matter what the occupation. It can only be a short time until these denial of benefits will extend to ALL trade unions and ALL part-time workers.Basically, Georgia is telling companies to either have full-time only employees, or get out of their State. While most of the affected employees would love to be working full-time, it is simply impossible to have that happen. Temporary staffing agencies, temporary labor companies, restaurants, convention workers, construction companies, labor unions, and many other types of businesses will be affected by this new policy. It will be hard, if not impossible to find workers for temporary assignments--like when someone goes on medical leave, or a new road must be built.
The problem started when Georgia gave a "tax holiday" to companies just prior to the onset of The Great Recession. For three years, companies did not have to pay into the State UI fund. When the economic downturn hit, funds were quickly depleted leading to strategies being sought to quickly bolster the account. Rather than temporarily raising the UI tax rate, this Republican led State decided to attack those who would offer the least resistance--the poor and lower middle class workers. Those they have chosen to target for economic failure will now be forced onto welfare roles, thereby forcing the Federal Government to pick up the lions share of providing relief to these unemployed workers. Once again, the Republican's are seeking to pawn off the problems of their own making onto the rest of the Nation.
We can only wait and see just how bad this problem becomes as Georgia loses it's labor pool of temporary "as-needed" workers. The money these employees pump into the local economies, the income taxes and sales taxes they pay, are small potatoes compared to the affected companies moving their operations to friendlier States--and taking their tax money with them. Add to this the increased costs of providing temporary workers from out-of-state, who will need to be housed and provided travel accommodations, to fill vacant temporary positions for the in-state companies, we can see where there will be drastic cutbacks and employment practices made. Namely, instead of a temporary worker filling a temporary vacancy, companies will be pressured to fire people so they will have an open full-time position to be filled by a resident. Considering Georgia is an "at will" State, meaning that both employee and employer can terminate employment for no reason at all, getting pregnant might just get you fired because "I don't like your shoes"...