Conference News

School Board Candidate Forum

The Richmond County (GA) School Board Candidate Forum


The TWU Georgia State Conference and TWU Local 239 are hosting the School Board Candidate Forum. The forum is open to the public and will be held Wednesday, November 2, 2016 from 6:30  – 8:00pm at the Augusta-Richmond County Main Public Library, 823 Telfair St, Augusta, GA 30901.

We look forward to seeing you. If you have questions, please contact

Yolanda T. Brown
TWU-GSC Secretary-Treasurer

Keep Georgia Schools Local

Keep Georgia Schools Local

Opportunity School Districts

A proposed amendment, Opportunity School Districts (OSD), will give the governor of Georgia the ability to take control of a school from the local school system, close the school if he deems it necessary thereby firing all the employees of the school. The TWU Georgia State Conference joins Georgia teachers in opposing this amendment.

1. A school takeover would silence parents and teachers.
2. Read the fine print!
3. This constitutional amendment guts local control of public schools.

Local Control Will be Taken Away, and Parents will be Powerless to Stop It:

  • This constitutional amendment is a state government political takeover of our public schools that gives absolute power to a hand¬picked political appointee and out-of-state, for-profit corporations that could run our schools.
  • The political appointee will even have the power to fire teachers without cause and close schools creating more classroom overcrowding and fewer resources for already struggling schools.
  • This amendment provides zero oversight or accountability for how the powerful political appointee spends taxpayer money, and decisions made by the political appointee cannot be appealed. Parents will have no voice in the decision-making process.
  • Parents, teachers, and communities know what’s best for their kids and community, not for-profit corporations from out of state.

Don’t buy the hype ­ read the fine print.

  • Voters should be wary of the pie ¬in ¬the sky promises made by the out-of-state, for-profit corporations pushing for this change to Georgia’s Constitution. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read the fine print.
  • What is in the fine print? This constitutional amendment is a power grab by bureaucrats and out-of-state special interests that will result in a wholesale sell¬off of our children’s education and won’t improve our public schools.
  • The amendment requires no accountability, it silences parents and teachers, and it cuts funding.

A school takeover will harm ­­ not help ­­ public schools.

  • Teachers, PTAs, educators and local community leaders from across Georgia oppose this approach. Lobbyists and out-of-state corporations support it, and yet local taxpayers will have to pay the bill.
  • This change to the constitution will allow a political appointee who has no accountability to local voters to fire teachers and principals without cause.
  • This amendment will cut funding from our local public schools in order to fund a new layer of state bureaucracy and a powerful new political appointee.

Let’s not confuse the conversation. This is NOT about charter schools, political agendas, or finger-pointing at legislators. This IS about our schools, our children, and parents’ rights to have a say in their children’s education.

And there are questions, good questions, that require good answers. From the opposing side, this is how we see it:

1.    What is the alternative for “failing” schools?

We should do what we know works. The alternative to a school takeover is more input from local parents and teachers as to how to improve schools. “Twenty percent of school districts in Georgia were still furloughing teachers earlier this year because of lack of funding. Instead of dismissing schools as “failing,” the state should fully fund education, reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, restore art and music programs and work on retaining our best teachers.

2.    Doesn’t OSD provide opportunities for students and greater community involvement?

Governor Deal’s office says “parents and community input will be solicited formally, during public hearings, and informally throughout the planning and implementation.”

No. Read the fine print! The political appointee has FINAL say and NO accountability to the parents or community. The school takeover silences parents and teachers by allowing a state political appointee to make all decisions without meaningful teacher or parent input. The appointee can fire teachers without cause, close schools or turn the schools over to out-of-state, for-profit corporations and the appointee’s decisions can’t be appealed.

3.    Governor Deal has said that if school districts don’t have failing schools then they have nothing to worry about with OSD. Shouldn’t school districts just work harder to fix failing schools?

We all want to improve our schools, but a school takeover is the wrong approach. Instead of dismissing schools as “failing,” the state should fully fund education, reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, restore art and music programs and work on retaining our best teachers.

4.    Didn’t similar plans in other states have success? Statistics show XYZ?

No. The New Orleans plan failed and has been shut down by the Louisiana State Legislature. Parents were silenced and communities were disenfranchised.

5.    Why do you want to control failing schools? Local boards have had their chance and failed. Isn’t it time to try something new?

These schools have been chronically underfunded and set up to fail. Given the proper resources, local communities can turn schools around. We aren’t in favor of the status quo. We all want to improve our schools, but a school takeover is the wrong approach. Instead of dismissing schools as “failing,” the state should fully fund education, reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, restore art and music programs and work on retaining our best teachers.

6.    Supporters of the Amendment says, “let’s just try it.” Why is that a bad idea?
We don’t want to use a permanent change to our constitution as an experiment for our students.

If you haven’t read the proposed amendment, if you haven’t gotten all the information, you can read/download the documents below.

Constitutional Amendment

Resolutions Opposing OSD

The Dawson Resolution



Are you registered to vote?

TWU of America

National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, September 27! Will you celebrate by registering to vote? If you’re already registered, you can help a friend, family member, or coworker register.

Election 2016 is fast approaching, and we want to make sure union members and families are ready. So much is at stake in this election – including your fundamental rights as a union member.

Election laws, polling locations, and deadlines can change. So National Voter Registration Day is a great opportunity to make sure you’re all set to vote. Even if you’ve voted previously with no trouble, it’s important to verify your information to make sure it remains up-to-date. Here’s a quick checklist to help:

  1. Make sure you’re registered. If you’ve recently moved, make sure you update your information. Some states offer same-day voter registration, but it’s always better if you can take care of these details before you’re in the voting booth.
  2. Find your polling place. It’s critical to find out where you’ll vote before election day, and check to make sure it didn’t change from where you voted in the primary. Make sure you know the hours of your polling place, too.
  3. Vote early, absentee, or by mail, depending on where you’ll be on Election Day. Skip the lines on voting day and avoid any hassles by voting early, absentee or by mail. Not all states offer these options, so find out if your state does here.
  4. Check voter ID laws in your state. According to the ACLU, 17 states will have new voter ID laws in effect this November. These types of laws include strict identification requirements, changes in early voting procedures, and more. Be prepared with proper identification if your state requires it.
  5. Know your rights. You are entitled to assistance in the voting booth if you need it. Ask the volunteers at your polling place for help.

Remember: Your vote is your voice, so let’s make sure the voices of working people are heard on Election Day: Tuesday, November 8.


United Invincible,

Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO


I am King

by Secret Ballot

Election was called, but Nobody came.

In shadows with sharp corners, They whispered my name.

I stood in the dark where Nobody could see.

I whispered my hate, but Nobody heard me.

When it was time for Ballots to cast,

Nobody voted while Everyone danced.

And the ballots that Nobody used,

Made sure Everyone would lose.

Now, I am King of the entire nation.

Death to the ballot is my first proclamation.

Labor Wins HB 361 Lawsuit

A Victory for Georgia Workers

The following is an email from Mr. Charlie Fleming, President, Georgia AFL-CIO.

We’ve scuffled and scraped, scratched and clawed, bent but didn’t break!!! And finally we can celebrate a VICTORY for Organized Labor in Georgia!!!

We are thrilled to inform Georgia AFL-CIO affiliates that Judge O’Kelley has ruled in our favor in our lawsuit against the State of Georgia for passing House Bill 361 which unlawfully regulated voluntary payroll authorizations, the process of selecting bargaining representatives and provided the State of Georgia with its own regulatory or judicial remedies for conduct arguably protected or prohibited by Federal law.

We began the fight in 2013 and, with your help and support, and the hard work and determination of our attorneys Jim Fagan & Michael Schoenfeld, we can at last claim huge win over those who sought to oppress us!!

This is what can happen when we all work together toward a common goal. Onward to Change!

Leveling the Paying Field

Fair Compensation for Georgia Education Support Workers

Transport Workers Union of America and the TWU Georgia State Conference is fairCompensationpartnering with local legislators to write and sponsor a bill that would create fair compensation for Georgia Board of Education blue collar support personnel including Bus Drivers, Dispatchers, Monitors, Special Education Aids, Nutrition Workers, Custodians, Maintenance Personnel, and Paraprofessionals to name a just a few of many.

The need for such a bill is both reasonable and powerful. The rationale for the bill we provided to the legislators is listed below.

We are creating this bill because:

  1.  Georgia Board of Education support personnel have not received a cost of living raise for almost ten (10) years. During the last five years they been furloughed and/or suffered cuts in pay while medical premiums rose. During the same period, executive and administrative personnel received pay increases.
  2. Insurance premiums paid by the employees have increased over the last five years without any increase in wages to help cover this increase in cost of living.
  3. Salaried employees are paid during scheduled shutdown periods. Although willing to work, Georgia Board of Education support personnel, salaried workers, have their ability to make a living penalized because of the school system’s built-in/scheduled shutdowns during the year.
  4. A recent vote by the state legislature prevents Georgia Board of Education support personnel from collecting unemployment even during the time (summer and other shutdown periods) they are not working and not being paid.
  5. Support personnel work under a pay system that forces them to wait upwards of a month to be paid. If implemented, the bill would institute a system which would put money earned into employees’ pockets closer to the time it is earned. With less time between work and compensation, employees would be able to better track and verify their earnings. A shorter work to compensation period would also enable pay corrections/adjustments to be made faster.
  6. Employees should be able to look at their pay stub and verify all aspects of their compensation in real time without the use of any other documentation or research.

The reasons listed below are situations many workers take for granted. Who has to worry about seeing how many hours they’ve worked, how much their pay was before taxes, or worry that a broken air conditioner someplace will cut into their paycheck? Why should a job’s stress extend to what should be the simple act of being paid?

The TWU Georgia State Conference is actively pushing the creation of a bill that will support the people who support our children. If you would like to help or have questions, please contact Ben Morgan (706-799-8972) or the president of any of our member locals.

Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill

Save our roads and bridges and the jobs of the people who work on them!

Call the United States Congress!

Call your congressman!

The U.S. Senate and House of Representative have to find a way to fund transit and highways before May 30. If they don’t act soon, thousands of hardworking public transit workers could lose their jobs because funding to make improvements to our nation’s highway and public transit systems will run dry. This means we will be unable to fund our public transit systems, address our infrastructure problems, and modernize our roads and bridges. Our leaders in Washington need to address this serious situation by identifying revenue to finance the Highway Trust Fund immediately.

A well-funded reauthorization bill would provide job security for all public transit workers and put millions of people to work in good jobs will improving traffic congestion and fixing crumbling (and dangerous) infrastructure. TWU supports a multi-year surface transportation bill that increases funding for the Highway Trust Fund and its transit account.

But we need to make our voice heard!

Despite the overwhelming argument for improvements to our roads and a modern transportation system, progress in Washington has stalled over the last several years.

Speak out!

Call your U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Below is the link to a script we recommend you use when calling your congressman and representative. Remember, be polite, friendly, and knowledgeable. Our goal is to motivate, not antagonize.


Be sure and return your results to TWU C.O.P.E.!