The importance of Teamsters running for office got another boost recently with a mayoral election in a small Pennsylvania town.
In Jeannette, Pa., an incumbent mayor unveiled plans to outsource the city’s sanitation operations. A Teamster shop steward employed by the city ran against him and won handily.
Curtis Antoniak, a recently retired Teamster with the Jeannette Public Works Department, was a Local 30 member for 32 years. In addition to his service as a Teamster member, Antoniak has been involved in his community for years coaching baseball, and the market in Jeannette that his grandparents started has been in business since the 1920s.
“The Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters supports and encourages its members to seek local office, and I’m really proud of Brother Curtis Antoniak and everyone on his campaign for scoring such a resounding victory,” said William Hamilton, International Vice President and President of the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters. “What’s been done here in Jeannette can serve as a model for not just the rest of the state, but the entire country. When Teamster members get involved in politics, we can fight and we can win.”
Antoniak’s opponent, the incumbent mayor, was Richard Jacobelli, who ran on a platform of renegotiating agreements with Jeannette’s largely union workforce. The plan could have resulted in layoffs for the six workers in sanitation, in spite of the department having a profitable 2016.
Antoniak, who had never run for public office before, beat Jacobelli by a 3-1 margin in this town about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh.
“I love our town. I'm very humbled with the results of the election,” Antoniak said.