Chatham County Considers Union - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/25/03

Chatham County Considers Union

Rev. Small addresses the commission. Rev. Small addresses the commission.

City of Savannah workers did it three years ago, and now Chatham County workers want to join a union as well. The idea was presented to county commissioners today, and they aren't saying much right now. They want more time to consider the idea. But union representatives say they expect to have union in a month.

"We have now reached the threshold of over 300 [signatures]," said Rev. Leonard Small, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, who approached the county commission with the idea of getting their workers involved.

"Our prescriptive relief for workers is that we go in as a professional person to speak and carry their calls," said Small.

Rev. Small says if the workers had been in a union, Inger Bostick would not have been reprimanded for her hairstyle last year, among other things. He said "people [are] being laid off unreasonably, [with] no consideration of seniority."

County commissioners want to hear from their employees, no matter what, and are not sure if a union is the way to go.

"I'm open to listen if it will benefit employees and not hurt the county, I'm open to listen," said District 7 councilman Dean Kicklighter.

"I don't think you necessarily need a union if employees are being represented properly and calls are being handled professionally," said chairman Billy Hair. "But if that's not the case, then I think they have a right to do that and certainly everybody has a right to unionize."

Commissioners say this idea is still very new to them and they will study it and take it up at a commission meeting in one month.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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