POLITICS

Elizabeth Warren Recognizes 2020 Campaign Staff's Union

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts officially recognized her campaign's union on Monday.

The presidential campaign staff of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has moved to unionize, and campaign management has officially recognized its efforts to form a union without any dispute.

Steve Soule of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2320 confirmed to HuffPost that a majority of Warren’s campaign staffers wanted to be represented by the union.

The union is now at the “very beginning of the collective bargaining process,” according to Soule. 

Management recognized the union on Monday. Warren’s campaign staff is the third campaign in the 2020 election race to unionize.

Warren publicly acknowledged her staff’s union in a tweet on Thursday.

“Every worker who wants to join a union, bargain collectively, & make their voice heard should have a chance to do so,” she wrote.

In March, the 2020 staff for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) became the first presidential campaign staff to form a union during an election season. Sanders, an outspoken advocate for workers’ rights, immediately recognized his campaign staff’s union under United Food and Commercial Workers.

Democrat Julián Castro, who is also running in the presidential primary, said earlier this year that he would recognize a bargaining unit if his staff wanted to unionize. In May, Castro’s staff officially unionized with the Campaign Workers Guild.

Soule says the unionizing of Warren’s staff will likely inspire more presidential campaign workers to do the same.

“I would not be surprised if other campaigns look at this effort and these initiatives and, and behave in a similar way,” Soule said.

The Campaign Workers Guild is one of the leading voices behind this recent movement to bring unions into political campaigns and committees.

The group urged Democratic campaigns to allow their staffers to organize labor unions during last year’s midterm elections, insisting that the “Democratic Party is a champion of labor rights, except where its own laborers are concerned.”

In its open letter to Democratic campaign managers, the guild claims that campaign workers regularly work “twice the standard workweek for less than minimum wage and no healthcare benefits.” It currently represents workers from 26 campaigns, according to its website.

Advocacy group Pay Our Interns is also pressuring campaigns to reward their workers fairly. In response to the group’s pledge initiative launched earlier this year, at least six Democratic presidential campaigns, including those of Sanders and Warren, have promised to pay their interns.

Soule, who is IBEW 2320′s business manager and not affiliated with the Campaign Workers Guild, believes that unions can play an important role in political campaigns.

“We focus on wages, benefits and working conditions. Those are really the hallmarks of most workers,” he said.

This story has been updated with a tweet from Warren.

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