Union members and labor advocates are gaining momentum in the political arena as they run for or are nominated to positions at the local, state and federal level.
Georgia has become a political battleground after President Joe Biden carried the state and Two Democratic Senators were later elected. Newly elected Grovetown City Councilwoman and AFGE District 5 member Ceretta Smith joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss the importance of union members in politics and how she was able to get elected.
Getting elected in Georgia
Smith said her background inspired and helped her get elected to the Grovetown City Council. She comes from a military family and followed in her fathers footsteps of serving. She then left the service and became a federal employee and member of the American Federation of Government Employees District 5.
Seeing the issues she faced and that her Union Brothers and Sisters faced inspired her to run for office. The community she lives in is young, hungry for fresh faces and leaders who match their wants.
The efforts of Stacey Abrams inspired her and she saw Abrams as a mentor to look up to. After winning her City Council election, Smith said Abrams called her, congratulated her and let her know she is there for her if she needs help.
Encouraging union members to run for office
Smith has been working with other union members and labor community advocates, who wish to run for office and elevate their voices.
While union members and labor advocates are running in and winning elections throughout the country, Smith believes they can lead the way in making change for working people. She said it will be southern labor advocates who can make meaningful change, as the south tends to be less worker-friendly.
Voter suppression in Georgia
After the recent passing of a law that Democrats say restricts voting rights and makes it harder for eligible voters to cast a ballot, lawsuits have been opened to overturn the legislation. Smith said labor groups and others have dove into the fight head first. They are leading rallies outside of major events, in front of state buildings and more.
Additionally, Smith is saddened that the state would take the voter suppression measure, as she says it does more than just restrict voting. Many corporations have decided to pull events from the state, cancel contracts and more. The bill has hurt Georgia’s workers more than just at the ballot box.