A case involving state secrets, the open records law and union jobs went before Georgia’s Supreme Court Monday. It pits the state and Kia Motors against workers who say they were passed over for jobs at the carmaker’s West Point plant.
The Georgia Supreme Court hears arguments Monday from former auto workers who say Kia didn’t hire them to work at its West Point plant because the workers are union members. The workers are suing Kia and the state for access to records from the state’s QuickStart program, which screened and hired workers for the plant.
A group that focuses on fighting human rights violations against inmates has sued the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections, saying the agency is in violation of the state's open records law.
A judge has ruled that the state of Georgia must release records about how it helped hire workers at Kia Motors’ West Point plant. Former autoworkers say lawmakers conspired with Kia to avoid hiring anyone with a union background.
Georgia's Open Records Act requires a 14-day waiting period between when state agencies and local governments name finalists and vote on an official hire, to give the public an opportunity to learn about the finalists and voice concerns. Under a new rule approved by the Legislature, the Board of Regents must give the public only five days' notice.
When Kia Motors decided in 2006 to build its first North American manufacturing plant in West Point, it did so thanks to tax breaks and other incentives promised by the state. One of Georgia’s promises was the recruitment and training of workers. The facility now employs 3,000 people. But the way those workers were hired is now at the center of a lawsuit.
Former autoworkers are suing the state of Georgia. They claim lawmakers conspired with Kia Motors to avoid hiring employees with union backgrounds. The lawsuit accuses lawmakers of helping cover up Kia’s bias against former union workers.