As the 2020 race heats up and more candidates enter the field, a new spotlight is being focused on how employees of political campaigns are being treated. With recent movements to increase the minimum wage and union membership as well as improve the working conditions in a variety of fields, politicians are now under pressure to make sure their campaigns are hospitable to potential and current employees. In this article, I’ll let you know which 2020 Presidential campaigns have unionized and which ones plan to in the future.
The Bernie Sanders Campaign
Prior to Bernie Sanders, campaign unionization wasn’t talked about much. That’s why his March announcement that his campaign staff would unionize dominated the headlines.
Sanders has been a big supporter of unions and organized labor throughout his political career, so the move to unionize his own campaign wasn’t too shocking. He’s demonstrated his pro-worker, pro-union ideology by fighting for higher wages and joining picket lines with striking workers.
Unions are my family. I have worked with them my entire life, and I am incredibly proud this campaign will be powered by union workers.
When unions are strong, the middle class is strong. Together, we are going to rebuild the labor movement in America. https://t.co/fsc9d1WZBP
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 8, 2019
A formal union contract was finalized on May 8, 2019. Among other things, this contract addresses important issues for workers like healthcare, pay equity, and financial transparency.
The contract also guarantees that the campaign will pay for 100% of the healthcare premiums for its field organizers and pay its national headquarters interns a minimum wage of $20 per hour plus full health benefits.
The campaign worked with UFCW Local 400 to create and finalize the union contract.
BREAKING: @BernieSanders workers have become the first presidential campaign staff in U.S. history to ratify a union contract. Read the full story: https://t.co/fcvMTfj0f7 (1/6) pic.twitter.com/FXh5FZc7fk
— UFCW Local 400 (@UFCW400) May 8, 2019
Sanders’s voting record has earned him a 98% lifetime score from the AFL-CIO. He received a perfect 100% grade from 2012–2017.
The Eric Swalwell Campaign
Shortly after announcing his 2020 bid, California Representative Eric Swalwell announced that his campaign would be unionizing. In the announcement, Swalwell said that his staff would be recognized as Teamsters local 238.
The Hill reports that it’s unclear whether or not the Swalwell campaign has formalized a collective bargaining agreement with staff.
Swalwell’s voting record has earned him a 98% lifetime score from the AFL-CIO.
The Julián Castro Campaign
On May 9, 2019, Julián Castro announced that his campaign had unionized as a Campaign Workers Guild affiliate. Employees of the Castro campaign earn a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
It’s not enough to talk the talk. You have to walk the walk. We’re doing this at every step of this campaign. I’m proud to announce that my campaign staff has unionized. https://t.co/Fo61QN5cHL
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) May 9, 2019
As a House Representative for Texas’s 20th District, Castro earned a lifetime score of 96% from the AFL-CIO.
The Elizabeth Warren Campaign
Thus far, only the Sanders and Swalwell campaigns have unionized. While I expect others Presidential candidates to follow suit, none of them made public statements hinting at unionization.