Election Day turned out to be a successful one for workers in places like Kentucky and Virginia due to key victories. But it was also a blue-ribbon day for Teamsters on the ballot, whose members prevailed in eight local races across the country.
Newly-elected Debi Domenick, a member of Local 229, won a seat on the Lackawanna County (Pa.) County Council. She outpaced her closest opponent by more than 3,300 votes. An assistant public defender for the county, Domenick ran on a platform supporting unionization of county employees and in favor of local project labor agreements.
Another county victory was earned in the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Legislature by Local 707 Principal Officer Kevin McCaffrey, who was reelected with 62 percent of the vote. He ran on making the country an affordable place to live while maintaining living standards for the middle class.
Vince Minichino, a Local 469 business agent, won a seat on the Brick Township (N.J.) Council by more than 700 votes over Victoria Chadwick, the closest Republican challenger. Minichino wants to help Brick to grow and prosper as a town and to provide a worker’s perspective in council decisions.
Two members of Local 25 also won local races. Jon Turco won an at-large seat on the Peabody (Mass.) City Council, outpacing the nearest candidate behind him by a 4133-to-3618 count. And Robert Dellorco, won his election to the Franklin (Mass.) Town Council, outpacing the next candidate 2217-to-2158.
Daryl Miller of Local 250 held his seat on the Monongahela (Pa.) City Council, beating his opponent 487-to-376.
And Tom Lyons of Local 676 and Amy Lewis of Local 97 won their unopposed races for the Delran Township (N.J.) Council and East Orange (N.J.) City Council, respectively.
But the Teamsters’ efforts went beyond just the candidates. In Virginia, for example, the union had active field programs in the Roanoke, Richmond and Hampton Roads area. Locals 171, 322 and 822 all took off lost timers to educate and engage members at worksites – a first for Locals 171 and 322.
Old Dominion Teamsters also participated in multiple canvasses and phone banks for endorsed candidates, as well as supporting the AFL-CIO’s program. Brian Peyton, political coordinator of Joint Council 83, said the union’s efforts in southern Virginia were ramped up this year at the urging of Local 592 President Jim Smith and Local 822 President James Wright, and he was grateful for their support.
Peyton, who is President of Local 322, said he was pleased with the results. “The hardworking men and women of this state will now have their interests represented,” he said. But Peyton warned those taking office will have to deliver on their promises or risk being turned out next time. “We will keep those we elected accountable,” he added.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, the Teamsters had seven lost timers knocking doors for the AFL-CIO program.
Finally, in Washington state, Teamsters in the Seattle area were incredibly active in municipal elections. They ran canvasses for Takele Gobena, a Teamster candidate for the SeaTac City Council. While he came up short, it is a good example of the union pulling out all the stops for its members.