Rural Georgia Manufacturing facility, Flush With Federal Funds, Votes to Unionize

“Staff in locations like Blue Chicken embody the long run in some ways,” Flippo stated after the vote, including, “For a lot too lengthy corporations have cynically seen the South as a spot the place they may suppress wages and dealing circumstances as a result of they believed they may discourage employees from unionizing.”


The Blue Chicken union retailer, which employs 1,400 employees, might be one of many largest within the South and union leaders stated it may very well be a beachhead as they eye the inflow of latest electrical car suppliers – and presumably the most important and most troublesome targets: overseas electrical car makers like Hyundai, Mercedes -Benz and BMW, which partially settled in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina to keep away from unions.

“Corporations are shifting there for a motive — they need the smoothest doable path to union busting,” stated Steve Smith, a nationwide spokesman for the AFL-CIO. “However now we have federal cash floating round, a pleasant administration, and a chance to make some progress like we’ve by no means had earlier than.”

The Blue Chicken plant, which abruptly finds itself on a rustic lane lined with peach and pecan orchards, has lengthy made a apply of hiring much less educated employees, some in jail and most beginning at $16 or $17 an hour, stated Alex Perkins, one of many fundamental organizers of the United Steelworkers in Georgia.

The organizers acknowledged {that a} union for such weak employees could be troublesome to realize within the face of fiercely opposed administration. As they completed the final shift of the day on Thursday, most employees refused to remark publicly. A bunch of a couple of dozen employees stood on the Circle Ok gasoline station throughout the road from the plant within the predawn darkness Friday, holding up pro-union indicators as the primary employees arrived to solid their ballots underneath the gaze of observers from the Nationwide Labor Relations Board .

However Cynthia Harden, who has labored on the plant for 5 years and voted to prepare, spoke in regards to the strain placed on employees to vote in opposition to. Slideshows of the voting course of, exhibiting ballots that stated “No,” stated the corporate may go bust if the union received, and abruptly meals vehicles appeared at lunch and banners on the perimeter fence learn “We Love Our.” Worker!”

“They’ve already made some modifications, but when the union had not been shaped, nothing would have occurred,” she stated.

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2023-05-12 23:01:15