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Elizabeth Warren’s election campaign staff unionizes

  • June 5, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign workers have opted to join a union, according to an official involved in the effort.

The campaign workers will be represented by the Manchester, N.H.-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320. The Warren campaign didn’t object to the idea of a union when IBEW broached the subject this week, promptly providing a list of workers who it thought should be included in the bargaining unit.

“They were pretty open to the idea,” Steven Soule, the IBEW Local 2320 business manager, told POLITICO in an interview.

Warren’s staff is the fourth presidential campaign to unionize, after those of Senator Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.), former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).

All four campaigns allowed their campaign staffs to organize through the informal collection of authorization forms, a process known as “card check” that is less cumbersome than a secret-ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, which managers are permitted under labor law to require.

Sanders’ staff last month ratified a collective bargaining agreement that doubles the amount of time off from 10 to 20 days a year, provides mandatory breaks, and caps managers’ pay in a way that is proportional to the salaries of unionized workers.

Unionizing presidential campaigns is a new phenomenon until now limited to a few state and local campaigns. The 2018 midterms saw more than 20 Democratic campaigns and multiple state parties unionize under the Campaign Workers Guild and other established unions like United Food and Commercial Workers.