Congressman Allen visits Rolling Monkey to discuss business legislation

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen of the 12th District of Georgia, R-Georgia, visited the Rolling Monkey Handcrafted Ice Cream in Statesboro last week and briefly discussed business issues and labor-related legislation with the store’s entrepreneurs.

Garrett and Meagan Clark founded the company, which will be in business for four years as of November. The “rolling” part of Rolling Monkey’s name reflects the fact that employees first spread the liquid mixture on a flat surface cooled below freezing and add flavor, then rolled it into a cylindrical shape. This is ordered while the customer is watching.

“Monkey” was the childhood nickname for the Clark family’s son Connor, who was about to turn 16.

So far, Rolling Monkey has only one store on Northside Drive East. But the Clark family also has a “headquarters team” working out of the Business Innovation Group facility in downtown Georgia Southern University on East Street.

“Right now we’re looking at a possible second location, which could be a headquarters to start scaling up through franchising,” Garrett Clark said.

Meghan Clark said Rolling Monkey currently has about 30 team members, of which about 22 are part-time employees, while in addition to the Clark family, two are full-time employees, and the others are interns or apprentices or provide contract services. Clarks is running an internship program at its main Eastern office while improving its business model for scalability.

A native of Augusta, Allen founded RW Allen Construction in Augusta in 1976 and now serves on the House Agriculture Committee and the House Committee on Education and Labor, where he is a senior member of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Republicans. He places the order and watches as members of the Rolling Monkey team behind the counter—store manager Isabell Duran and employees on duty Rontae Jones and Jaylee Smith—fill his cardboard cups with hand-rolled ice cream.

Speaking to the Clarks, he ate all but the cups and spoons.

Employee Rights Act

Allen also told reporters that he continues to support a piece of legislation called the Employee Bill of Rights of 2022. Allen introduced a version of it, House Resolution 7194, in the House of Representatives last March, and senators. South Carolina Republican Tim Scott introduced the Senate version.

“We now have a modern workforce,” Allen said. “Gone are the days of a hostile relationship between employees and employers, and that’s what the unions face. That’s why you see unionization in our country continue to decline, and of course, the unions of public employees are just getting slammed because you You know, obviously, they’re government services.”

He said unions, like the federal government, faced a “top-down, one-size-fits-all” problem, unable to adapt to local conditions when “technology made all the difference”.

Among other things, HR 7194 will require all affected employees to obtain a majority vote by secret ballot to form a workplace or initiate a strike.

The bill would also prohibit unions from using or paying any portion of employee union dues “for any purpose not directly related to a labor organization’s collective bargaining or contract management functions” without the employee’s written permission. This would apparently prohibit unions from donating to political campaigns without employee approval.

Under majority Democratic control, the bill has yet to make headway in Congress.

Compare. PRO Act

Allen contrasted the legislation with a bill he voted against called the Protection of the Rights of Organizations Act, or PRO Act. It passed the House of Representatives as HR 842 in March 2021 by a vote of 225 to 206, with just one Democrat against and five Republicans in favor. But the bill has not yet become law.

“The Democrats have the PRO Act, and what they’re trying to do is bring every business together,” Allen said last week. “And they’re doing it wrong. It’s adversarial. In other words, they want to abolish the secret ballot. . The Employee Rights Act guarantees a secret ballot. The secret ballot made this country what it is today.”

In this case, the ballots are related to union votes overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, not elections for public office. Currently, in an alternative process that requires employer consent, signature cards (not secret ballots) from more than half of the workers in the workplace can be accepted as votes proving unions.

The full text of both bills can be found online at /

Allen is currently running for re-election in November. The August election faces a challenge from Statesboro Democratic nominee Elizabeth “Leeds” Johnson, who is also Allen’s opponent in the 2020 election.

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