May 15, 2014: We lost a good friend yesterday, when Doug Mims passed away in Atlanta at the age of 75. Doug had been sick for quite some time.
Doug was a tireless activist and a leader of the TDU movement and of the Teamsters Union.
Doug started his union activity when he was a road driver in South Carolina. Later he transferred to Atlanta Local 728, where he joined TDU in 1984 and helped form an Atlanta TDU Chapter.
Doug and his wife Joyce were an organizing team. Joyce brought organizational and leadership skills to complement Doug’s ability to inspire and involve Teamster members.
TDU began to reach out and grow in Georgia.
The TDUers put together a slate to run in Local 728, but the election was stolen. To my surprise, the US Department of Labor did a very thorough investigation and proved that hundreds of ballots had been marked with the same pen on extra ballots that were secretly printed.
Facing defeat in a supervised election, the Mathis family, which ran Local 728 for years, had the IBT divide the local in two to maintain control of half of it. But the Labor Department then forced the phony new Local 928 to reunify back into Local 728. The TDU group swept the election in the spring of 1990, with Doug Mims elected vice president
“I'm now vice president of the Mathis family business," a fired-up Mims told the 1990 TDU Convention.
At that very convention, some of us suggested that Doug be on the Carey Slate. It was an easy sell, and Doug was one of the first running mates selected.
Joyce became the southern coordinator of the Carey campaign, and at various times over the years both Doug and Joyce served on the TDU Steering Committee. Both have been TDU members for 30 years; in fact, just days ago I wrote a short note to Doug on his membership renewal notice.
Joyce was appropriately honored in early 1992 when she was asked by Ron Carey to give his introduction at the big inauguration of Ron, along with Doug and the whole Carey Slate, on the steps of the Marble Palace.
I became friends with them and several times enjoyed warm visits at their home, and hosted them in Detroit. Many Teamsters could say something similar.
Doug served as an International VP until 1999. He ran on the Leedham Slate in 1998 for Southern VP, and then returned to work for Local 728 for a short while after that. Doug then retired from the Teamsters, but remained active in other work and in their community.
Doug Mims was a Teamster with guts and principles, who did his part in making labor history. We miss him and we honor his life’s work as we carry it on.
-- Ken Paff, TDU Organizer