Two pro-worker candidates running for U.S. Senate in Georgia emerged victorious in their run-off elections after the Teamsters put their muscle into turning out Teamster members to vote. The outcome makes sure President-elect Joe Biden will have a Congress that will stand up for hardworking families.
The Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated sitting Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in tight contests. Their wins guarantee that Democrats will have control of the legislative agenda in the Senate and thus make it easier to enact policy changes dealing with pension reform, collective bargaining rights, workplace safety, infrastructure investment and more.
The Teamsters played a sizable role in getting Warnock and Ossoff elected, as the union had a team of 17 political field organizers (PFOs) to reach out to thousands of its members in the state. Local unions from both Georgia and Florida in Joint Council 75 empowered members to work on the field program. The union’s Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employe Division (BMWED) also built on the work done during the general election to participate in the effort.
Jewel Prevo, Teamsters Local 528 recording secretary and a shop steward at ACTS Security, participated as a PFO for the first time. She said while the state was deluged by outside forces wanting to influence voters, members were glad to hear from their union.
“A lot of members were open to this because the union was calling,” she said. “The back-and-forth because we were union brothers and sisters was well received.”
Matt Weaver, an internal organizer with BMWED, agreed. He added that the access to voter resources provided to members were especially helpful.
“They liked that we had the links to share and the information they needed,” he said, adding that members “were pleasantly surprised and I received several thank yous.”
Together, PFOs contacted more than 6,000 Teamsters in Georgia by phone and text message. The team made more than 31,000 calls and sent more than 50,000 text messages between Dec. 1 and Jan. 5. More than 3,527 calls were made on Election Day alone.
Additionally, Warnock joined a tele-forum with Teamster retirees in Georgia to talk about protecting pensions. The union has consistently connected the 2020 elections to key Teamster issues.
“I had some retirees who told me they had never voted for a Democrat on the national level,” said Local 728 Vice President Chuck Stiles. “But they put it aside for pensions.”
Teamster members were also involved in campaign efforts from the inside as well. More than 100 workers for the Democratic Party of Georgia’s 2020 Coordinated Campaign and Legislative Victory Fund organized with Local 728 in September.