Sara Lonardo, 202-412-2153

Issued January 06, 2021

Essential Workers Celebrate Two US Senate Victories in Georgia

SEIU Essential Workers showed up and got out the vote for Rev. Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia run-off elections

Record breaking turnout across the state by Black, Latinx, AAPI voters delivered a win in electing progressives to the US Senate who will fight for workers’ rights and justice

Historic field operation, led by grassroots organizations in Georgia, delivered victories

Atlanta, GA - In coalition with partners across the state, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members and the Fight for $15 and a Union workers engaged in a robust field operation in Georgia. The members and worker leaders in Georgia congratulated Reverend Raphael Warnock on his decisive victory, and Jon Ossoff, who is currently in the lead and appears positioned to win in the runoff elections for the U.S. Senate. 

These victories come on the heels of a decisive, historic Presidential election in November, and is the result of decades-long community organizing in Georgia with a focus on workers’ rights and justice, including the fight to end systemic racism. 

“We all deserve an opportunity to earn a decent living and support our families. By voting for and electing Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate, Georgians have made our voices heard - the status quo isn’t good enough anymore,” said Debra Dawson, a forklift driver at a distribution warehouse and SEIU Workers United Southern Region member from Stone Mountain, GA. “We will hold our elected leaders accountable. That starts now, with our new senators leading the way. I am so proud of my community for fighting to make life better for all, paving the way for our children by getting out the vote in this important election. This is the change Georgians have been waiting for.”

“Workers’ efforts delivered this victory in Georgia. We showed out in November and in this special election, because it’s time our leaders fight for our demands: a $15 an hour minimum wage and a voice on the job,” said Latonya Costa-Jones, a home care worker and Fight for $15 and a Union worker leader from Atlanta, GA. “As essential workers, our lives have been on the line during this pandemic and in this election. Our fight for good wages and proper protections were heard today, and we’ll keep speaking out to hold our leaders accountable to working people.”

“Our victory in Georgia is a victory for Black and brown workers who showed up to elect leaders who will fight alongside us for a fairer economy and a $15 minimum wage,” said Shenesa Hill, a leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union and Panda Express worker from Atlanta. “Even though I’m called an essential worker, my pay is too low to pay rent for me and my kids. That’s why I mobilized for leaders who will champion a $15 minimum wage here in Georgia and for all workers across the country. And we’re going to keep fighting together to deliver change to working people because corporations must respect us, protect us, and pay us.” 

“Georgians voted for an economy and democracy that works for all people. Thanks to the continued organizing efforts, primarily by women of color, throughout the state, we elected Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to our United State Senate, leaders who have vowed to deliver historic changes that matter to working families,” shared SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “I celebrate alongside the two million members of SEIU and the millions more working people united in the Fight for $15 and a Union, and look forward to ensuring all workers have personal protective equipment, hazard pay, job protections, funding for state and local essential workers, affordable healthcare and paid sick leave. Following November’s presidential win, this is one more victory in our effort to disrupt and uproot the deadly impacts of structural racism in America’s economy and democracy.”

“I’m so proud of the SEIU members in Georgia who have been going nonstop for almost a year to elect leaders who embody what working people want in their representatives,” said SEIU Workers United Southern Region Director Chris Baumann. “This is the beginning of our story, not the end, and I know we won’t stop until every single Georgian is respected, protected, and paid.” 

The work by organizations like New Georgia Project, Fair Fight, Black Men Build, Georgia Alliance for Progress, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Asian American Advocacy Fund, Black Male Voter Project, PoderX, Georgia AFL-CIO, and Mijente, along with several organizations with the America Votes coalition, who stood alongside Workers United Southern Region, NAGE, and SEIU locals across the country, does not end with the election, but rather continues as the work to end structural racism through deep community organizing across the state continues. 

Georgians voted for candidates who support a $15 minimum wage and good union jobs to provide for our families. They voted for candidates who will ensure that everyone, no matter where they live or the color of their skin, can afford healthcare and long term care. Georgians voted to end police violence in Black communities and for investments in proven solutions to reimagine public safety. They voted to stop needless deaths and to protect frontline workers with protective gear, paid sick leave, and a clear, rational plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents of Georgia voted for action on climate change, so our children and grandchildren will have clean air and water. They voted for our neighbors to be welcome and safe in America, with a path to citizenship. 

SEIU members and worker leaders, along with our partners, across the state of Georgia knocked on over 10 million doors. They also made nearly two million phone calls, and sent 7.5 million text messages to millions of voters across the state. Along with a robust paid media program, SEIU reached millions of unique voters online and offline. SEIU invested nearly $6 million to 17 state based organizations across Georgia to mobilize voters in communities of color. 

Georgians voted for two new US senators who will be the deciding factor in critical policy decisions before the Congress for the next two years. Now the work begins to secure a brighter future for all of us.