Don’t Be Hypocrites, Dems – Allow Campaign Workers to Unionize

For a party that owes a lot of its successes to union support, the Democratic Party is a little squirrely when it comes to unionizing its own campaign staff. A new group has been working to organize campaign employees, and so far has found even some progressive candidates disappointingly resistant to seeing this change.

The Campaign Workers Guild (CWG) kicked off a couple months ago and has already managed to organize 12 left-leaning campaigns. However, itís the obstacles put up by Democratic leadership thatís taken the CWG by surprise. The CWG hasnít called out anyone by name at this point, but it questions the labor policies of politicians who donít even create fair working conditions within their own campaigns.

ďThe Democratic Party is a champion of labor rights, except where its own laborers are concerned,Ē said the CWG in a statement. ďWe sacrifice our health, financial security and leisure time to support candidates and movements that we hope will make our society more prosperous, equitable and inclusive. Itís time for our employers to live up to the values they publicly espouse.Ē

That sounds pretty reasonable to me. Campaign staffers notoriously work long hours for little compensation Ė why shouldnít they be able to organize for better conditions and benefits like other industries?

Granted, there are legitimate reasons for the Democratic Party to be apprehensive about attempts to unionize. For starters, campaign jobs rarely last even a full year, so it can be a hassle to work out agreements for temporary positions.

More importantly, it could leave Democrats at a competitive disadvantage. Since campaigns are all about maximizing donations, if the Democrats are using more of their limited resources to compensate workers, that leaves them with less money for signage and media ad buys.

Itís not as though the CWG wants to exclude Republican campaign workers from the union movement, though Ė the aim is to broker a similar deals for Republican campaigns, as well. In these early stages, though, liberals tend to be more receptive to the concept of unionizing.

Also, the CWG isnít necessarily looking for lavish pay rates for these workers, itís hoping to establish a bare standard where the workers earn a living wage. Simply put, itís not too much to ask that campaign employees should be able to pay for food and housing on their salary.

Addressing that issue would go a long way toward addressing the types of people who work in campaign offices, too. People who live in poverty or who have children canít afford to work for free (or just below minimum wage), meaning that campaigns are often full of wealthy people or trust fund kids who can afford to give up their time for little compensation. Of course thatís going to affect the kind of advocacy and policy the campaign promotes!

Once the CWG finds footing in enough campaigns, the goal is to work out something with the entire Democratic National Committee (and RNC, too, ideally) to cover campaign workers on a more blanket level.

Until that happens, at least the CWG has the support of DNC Deputy Chairman Rep. Keith Ellison. ďThe progressive movement needs to live up to its values,Ē Ellison wrote. ďWe have to treat our organizers with respect and dignity.Ē

Thatís the bottom line, really. Democrats need to learn that talking points are fine, but meaningless without action. Signaling that the party is committed to providing living wages could only be a plus in the eyes of most voters.

Take Action

Call on the Democratic Party to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy and support efforts to unionize by signing this petition.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

65 comments

Marie W
Marie W8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a year ago

Solidarity Forever!

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

Thanks.

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

Thanks.

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

Thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

Thank you

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Shirley S
Shirley Sabout a year ago

Brian F. Australia is cracking down on greedy CEO's too.

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Leo Custer
Leo Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Brian F
Brian Fabout a year ago

Unions don't even exist anymore after both corrupt corporate owned parties have destroyed them. Workers long ago lost all rights. This is why we need honest leaders like Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders to fight for workers rights. Corporate CEO's now make 300 times worker pay, up from 10 times 30 years ago. No other country allows their CEO's to commit crimes by making obscene amounts of money like the corrupt USA does, well their workers live in poverty.

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Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vagaabout a year ago

thanks

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