GA-Sen: “How Riggs Amico (D) sacrificed her family business investment to save jobs & pensions”

David Dayen has a piece out in the American Prospect that profiles businesswoman, former Lt. Governor candidate and current U.S. Senate candidate, Sarah Riggs Amico (D. GA). Riggs Amico’s campaign is highlighting the story of her family’s business as a narrative to win over voters:

Sarah Riggs Amico was the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate in 2018, on the ticket with Stacey Abrams. But throughout her run, she served as executive chairperson at Jack Cooper, one of North America’s biggest car-hauling companies, with over 3,000 employees, most of them affiliated with the Teamsters union. Amico’s family acquired the company in a 2009 merger; she joined the board in 2011 and became chair in 2014.

“We were at the front lines of the auto industry collapse and comeback,” Amico told the Prospect in an interview. “From the beginning we were in turnaround mode.” Her potential opponent Perdue was seen as a turnaround artist in his executive career. But the similarities end there.

Jack Cooper hit another difficult period after Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs rippled through automotive markets and caused heartburn for downstream suppliers. Automakers shifted to non-union carriers, an emerging trend in car-hauling, to save money. Debt piled on Jack Cooper’s balance sheet. The company pension, part of the embattled Central States fund, only added to the uncertainty.

“We found ourselves with the ultimate dilemma,” Amico said. “Do you hobble along, knowing you close the doors when the pension fund goes under? We went in and said these are people who did nothing wrong, and it’s worth saving their jobs.”

Jack Cooper filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last August. The three-month restructuring deal ended up preserving all 3,000 jobs, with no wage cuts. The company continued to pay employee health care premiums at 100 percent. All past pension obligations were honored; a reduction to future company contributions of $150 a week was the only real concession. Investments in workers and equipment were written into the contract.

Most astonishingly, Amico and the family owners gave up their entire direct investment in the business, using those funds to save jobs and pensions. “I spent a year and a half campaigning, talking about how you treat other people and how you lead,” Amico said. “And how our company was different. And here was a moment to show it.”

The decision earned respect among the rank and file. “They are more concerned with the welfare of their employees than how much money they can stack up in the bank,” said E.J. Childs, a transport safety and yard supervisor at Jack Cooper.

The whole article is worth a read. We have a great line up of candidates in the race against U.S. Senator David Perdue (R. GA) and Georgia is going to be a big state for Democrats to flip both Senate seats and to win the Presidency. Please do donate and get involved with the campaign of the Democrat of your choice:

Jon Ossoff

Teresa Tomlinson

Sarah Riggs Amico

Ted Terry

  • January 26, 2020