Staffers with Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro’s 2020 campaign have formed a union after unanimously signing cards with the Campaign Workers Guild, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary’s campaign announced Thursday.
Campaign managers recognized the union per a neutrality agreement with the CWG, making Castro’s the second major-party presidential campaign to unionize. The contract has not been finalized, but Castro tweeted his support for the effort on Thursday.
“It’s not enough to talk the talk. You have to walk the walk,” Castro wrote. “We’re doing this at every step of this campaign. I’m proud to announce that my campaign staff has unionized.”
Sarah Willenbrink-Sahin, an executive council member with the guild, said CWG was “thrilled” to represent Castro’s staff.
“We look forward to meeting with management at the bargaining table and making the policies we believe should be standard a reality for Castro workers,” Willenbrink-Sahin.
The former Obama housing chief “takes a back seat to no one when it comes to supporting his staff,” said Castro’s deputy press secretary, Sawyer Hackett, who will also be a union member.
“He was the first candidate to pledge to pay interns $15/hour, the first to put together a staff manual with a strong sexual harassment policy, and he was the first to support his staff forming a union to ensure the employees of his campaign are not left behind in advancing his vision for the future of our nation,” Hackett said in a statement.
Former staffers for the 2016 presidential run of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) formed the Campaign Workers Guild in October 2017. They hoped to improve working conditions on the notoriously difficult campaign trail and force progressive candidates to practice the pro-union rhetoric they often preach.
The guild ratified its first contract with then-Wisconsin congressional candidate Randy Bryce in February 2018. Castro’s campaign said it is the first presidential campaign to unionize with the guild.
Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign also announced in March that its staffers had unionized, but with the United Food and Commercial Workers. Sanders campaign workers ratified their contract on Wednesday.