Atlanta’s City Council To Consider Worker Retention Ordinance

An ordinance under soon to be under consideration by the Atlanta City Council would require new vendors at the city's airport to retain service contract employees for at least 90 days.
Credit Al Such / WABE
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Atlanta’s City Council will consider a measure Monday that would require new vendors at the city’s airport to retain service contract employees for at least 90 days. That is,  if a person was employed by a former vendor on a similar job and the employee has been working there for at least six months.

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Service contract employees include people working in the food, beverage, and retail industry.

Ian Mikusko, with UniteHere, a local labor union that is supporting the ordinance, said contract workers need more job security.

“There’s nothing to protect the people who relied on that job from losing their job even when the company that replaces their employer does the same thing,” he said.

However, Leonard Carlson, an economics professor at Emory University, said the proposed measure could force vendors to turn down people who are more qualified.

Barry Hirsch, who teaches economics at Georgia State University, likes the idea. He thinks it would give workers an incentive to impress a new employer and give the contractors some people who’re already trained.

“Given that this doesn’t have to be permanent from either side, that lets the new folks coming in look at those workers and decide for themselves,” he said.

But Carlson said another downside is possible costs of having to evaluate workers already in place.

There are currently more than 4,000 contract workers at the city’s airport.