‘Historical step:’ Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign staffers ratify union contract

"I know that our newly ratified union contract will make our workplace more equitable, fair and resilient, and our overall campaign will be much stronger with the protections we were able to win for the workers."

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SOURCECommon Dreams
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign workers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement.

The development, announced by the workers Wednesday, comes roughly two months after they made history by becoming the first presidential campaign staffers to unionize.

The contract, says UFCW Local 400, does a number of things.

It provides:

  • field workers with paid healthcare premiums;
  • interns a $20/hour rate and medical benefits;
  • overtime pay for hourly employees;
  • coverage for mental healthcare services;
  • a pay cap on management pay;
  • pay transparency;
  • a pay equity review process; and
  • and anti-discrimination provisions.

Such protections are especially important given the nature of campaign work, said Local 400 president Mark P. Federici.

“Political campaigns are cause-driven and because there is always more work that can be done, staffers are typically worked to the bone,” said Federici, who suggested other presidential campaigns take a cue from the Sanders team.

“First, Senator Sanders walked the talk on unions, agreeing to a truly democratic process – neutrality and card check – that every responsible employer should embrace. And then, the campaign engaged in good faith bargaining, recognizing that it’s in their own interest to have well-treated employees empowered to operate at the top of their games,” he added. “I urge every other campaign to follow their lead.”

Krista Harness, a staffer who served on the bargaining committee that led negotiations on behalf of the union, said, “I am so proud to be taking this historical step of becoming the first-ever presidential campaign with a unionized workforce.”

“I know that our newly ratified union contract will make our workplace more equitable, fair and resilient, and our overall campaign will be much stronger with the protections we were able to win for the workers,” she added.

When the campaign unionized in March, Sanders said, “We cannot just support unions with words, we must back it up with actions.”

“On this campaign and when we are in the White House,” he added, “we are going make it easier for people to join unions, not harder.”

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