USW: Sens. Warnock, Ossoff Call for ‘Free and Fair’ Union Election for Blue Bird Workers

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444,                 

(Macon, Ga.) – U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia this week joined a growing chorus calling on management at the school bus manufacturer Blue Bird to adhere to federal labor law and respect workers’ right to vote in their union election without intimidation or harassment. 

“It has been a priority of ours, both before coming to the Senate and since our election, to do all we can to promote free and fair elections,” Warnock and Ossoff wrote in a joint letter to Blue Bird President and CEO Matt Stevenson. “That applies whether an election is for state, local, or federal office, or on the topic of whether workers will vote to support or oppose joining a labor union.”

Approximately 1,400 workers at Blue Bird’s Fort Valley, Ga., facility will vote in their union election on May 11 and 12. If successful, they will become members of the United Steelworkers union (USW). 

The USW filed unfair labor practice charges on April 26, alleging that Blue Bird management broke federal labor law when it engaged in surveillance and interrogation of workers, as well as in making threats to close the plant or freeze pay and benefits to drag out the bargaining process if workers vote to unionize

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, who represents Georgia’s Second District, and voting rights activist and former Georgia State Rep. Stacey Abrams also reinforced workers’ right to pursue unionization without managerial interference.

“I have been a longtime supporter of the USW and its efforts to improve labor conditions and living standards for workers in Georgia and across the nation,” Bishop wrote in a letter to workers dated April 19. “For decades, unions have served as an important voice for workers in their fight for fair wages, fair benefits, and safe working conditions via collective bargaining.”

As a manufacturer of low-emission and zero-emission bus models, Blue Bird has been approved to receive more than $40 million in rebates through the EPA’s Clean School Bus program, funds the agency stipulated cannot be used for anti-union activity. 

“Blue Bird stands to be a significant beneficiary of the much-needed investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” said USW District 9 Director Dan Flippo, who represents workers in Georgia and six other Southern states. “It owes it to taxpayers to respect workers’ rights.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations. For more information:




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