The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has unionized.
What’s the story?
Around 100 people working for the Sanders campaign have ratified a contract with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400. In a statement, the union called it the “first collective bargaining agreement by a presidential campaign.” It does seem to be the first presidential-level campaign to do so.
The union also said that the standards would “dramatically improve their quality of life without hindering the Bernie 2020 campaign’s ability to compete for votes and delegates.”
Campaign work is known to be long and grueling. Under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, campaign workers would have “a clear but flexible workweek, as well as days off each month where the employee is not on call.”
In addition, “[i]t provides breaks throughout the day, including meal breaks, as well as mandatory time off between particularly long shifts. The negotiated agreement also doubled paid vacation time from 10 to 20 days per year.”
On top of everything else, the newly unionized workers are demanding “clearly defined wages and benefits along with the opportunity for employees to earn performance raises.”
When staffers on the campaign first voted to unionize on March 15, Sanders’s campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, called Sanders “the most pro-union candidate in the field,” adding “we’re honored that his campaign will be the first to have a unionized workforce.”
Sanders has been a vocal supporter of unions, and along with fellow presidential candidates Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), introduced the Workplace Democracy Act earlier this month, a piece of legislation that would target state level right-to-work laws.