EXCLUSIVE: Text Messages Reveal Stacey Abrams Campaign Owes Back Pay to Staffers
According to a Georgia woman who spent several days working on Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign, she and several staffers have been left high and dry in terms of compensation.
“Personally, I know four people that haven’t gotten paid, that I actually talked to,” canvasser Gwenona Parker told Big League Politics.
Parker’s home base during the campaign was the Covington Highway Office in Decatur, Georgia, but she knocked on thousands of doors during her five days of employment with the campaign, encouraging people to get out to vote for Abrams.
Parker said she worked from the Friday before the election through Election Day on Nov. 6. Canvassers were offered $90 per shift, and there were two shifts per day. She worked five double-shifts, but was not paid for her first day of work on the Friday before the election. Neither were her two children, or a friend she met on the campaign named Lucille, who could not be reached for comment.
On election day, canvassers were offered an extra $20 per shift, but according to Parker, they were only paid at the regular rate. In sum, Parker claims the Abrams campaign owes her and others $220.
“To most people $220 is not a lot, but I’m 49 and a single parent,” Parker said. “My time and my effort is not free. I walked knocked on a thousand doors. Some places we went were not safe, getting chased by dogs and yelled at by rude people.”
Parker said that after Election Day work, the campaign said that they would pay the canvassers what they were owed by check, and that they should come to the office to pick the checks up the Friday following the election.
She and the others went to pick up their checks as directed, but when they turned up at the office, they were not paid.
“They took down names, numbers and addresses,” Parker said, adding that about 50 people there attempting to pick up money they were owed almost three weeks ago. “Today I still don’t have a check.”
Since that day, Parker said, no one from the campaign has been in contact with her. She even drove to the office to ask about her payment in person. She said it appeared vacant.
“I’ve emailed, called, left messages, no response,” she said. “I made these calls daily for four days in a row, and next thing I know the number is disconnected and the office is shut down.”
The canvassers were hired by a shady company contracted by the Abrams campaign called Vote Goal Organizing (VGO), according to Angus Aberdeen, a canvassing supervisor. The organization does not have a website and the phone number provided goes to a full voicemail box.
Aberdeen suspected foul play, and said that VGO was making up “every excuse in the book not to pay.” Aberdeen said that he knows 8 to 10 people personally who have not yet been paid for their work on Abrams’ campaign.
Parker further explained that three people who ran the Decatur office and were full-time Abrams employees were also still waiting to be paid by the campaign. One of the employees, a man named P.J., to whom Parker reported, told Parker that there were several people in her situation, but that he could not get ahold of the campaign either.
Parker forwarded text massages to Big League Politics sent to her by P.J., explaining the payment situation. P.J. directed her to VGO’s human resources number, which re-directs to a full voicemail when dialed:
When BLP reached out to P.J., he responded via text.
“Hey! I can’t take calls right now, who’s this and how can I help?” he asked.
When asked about the payment snafu, P.J. went dark. He has not responded to any further questions.
The two other employees, known to Parker as Kermit and Tiffany, could not be reached for comment.
“Right is right and wrong is wrong,” Parker said, adding that she was unhappy that Abrams did not win the race. “But to brush us off like this and ignore us is not right. I’m sorry.”