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In a First for Presidential Race, Bernie Sanders Campaign Staff Unionizes
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=40248"><span class="small">Gregory Krieg, CNN</span></a>   
Saturday, 16 March 2019 12:38

Krieg writes: "Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign will be a union shop."

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)

In a First for Presidential Race, Bernie Sanders Campaign Staff Unionizes

By Gregory Krieg, CNN

16 March 19


en. Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign will be a union shop.

In a statement on Friday, the campaign said it had recognized its staffers' decision to unionize, making it the first major-party presidential campaign to employ a formally organized workforce.

Sanders tweeted that he was "proud" of the historical marker and, taking a page from his stump speech, tied the development to his own pro-union message.

"We cannot just support unions with words, we must back it up with actions," Sanders said. "On this campaign and when we are in the White House, we are going to make it easier for people to join unions, not harder."

The staffers will be represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, which said that anyone below the rank of deputy director would be eligible to join the bargaining unit. The campaign voluntarily recognized the group, the union said in a statement, after a majority of 44 eligible employees signed union cards.

Negotiations on a contract are expected to begin soon, the union said, and the bargaining unit could ultimately reach 1,000 members.

The move will put other Democratic presidential campaigns, especially the ones competing for progressive voters, under pressure to follow suit and at least remain neutral if their staffers decide to organize. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro's campaign has signaled it would back a similar move. On the campaign trail, Sanders has repeatedly vowed in speeches -- as he did in 2016 -- to make it easier for workers to unionize, often tying it to his push for a rise in the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.

This time around, following reports of sexual harassment and pay disparities on Sanders' last presidential campaign, there will also be added pressure to fortify safeguards against similar mistreatment.

"We expect (unionizing) will mean pay parity and transparency on the campaign, with no gender bias or harassment, and equal treatment for every worker," United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 President Mark P. Federici said in a statement on Friday, "whether they're in Washington, D.C., Iowa, New Hampshire or anywhere else."

In the aftermath of 2016, Sanders implemented what he described in January as a robust new reporting structure during his 2018 Senate re-election bid -- independent from the campaign -- for allegations of sexual harassment and "training for all employees on this issue."

While Sanders' is the first large-scale presidential campaign to unionize, the move comes in the wake of a growing wave of organization within political operations -- for candidates and causes -- that have for decades been effectively accepted as difficult and occasionally dangerous working environments.

Campaign workers for Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state were represented by the Campaign Workers Guild during the fall midterm elections, making her the first incumbent member of Congress with a unionized campaign staff. The campaign staff of Cynthia Nixon, who ran as a progressive outsider in New York's Democratic gubernatorial primary, was among the handful of others to take similar steps.

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+15 # librarian1984 2019-03-16 20:15
In his speech in NH Sanders also says his administration will pass a 'universal affordable child care' system, something he also called for in his 2016 campaign.

When your friends say they're afraid to vote for Sanders because he's not electable, 1) ask them how ignoring their instinct and voting for 'electable' centrist Hillary Clinton worked out, and 2) get them to watch one of his speeches and ask them how much they agree with his proposals and whether or not they believe he will actually work to make those things happen.

In his speech Sanders shares a vision of a better country which includes addressing:

single payer health care
lower drug prices
a national child care system
prison reform including cash bail
ending the drug war
equal justice for Wall Street
comprehensive immigration reform
corporate tax breaks, loopholes and tax havens
ending austerity policies for workers
the MIIC budget and our 'never-ending wars'
Citizens United
protect and bolster Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
clean air and water
helping rural America rebuild
the opioid crisis
student debt
gun violence
wealth inequality
institutional racism
voter suppression
women's control of their own bodies

taking on Wall Street, banks, insurance companies, Big Pharma, the MIIC, agribusiness and the prison-industri al complex
+8 # treerapper 2019-03-17 04:09
BRAVO BERNIE!!! An important statement about the critical loss of workers' rights and how they must be regained. Unionize!!!
+4 # Robbee 2019-03-17 12:55
Quoting treerapper:
BRAVO BERNIE!!! An important statement about the critical loss of workers' rights and how they must be regained. Unionize!!!

- O U T S T A N D I N G !
+1 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2019-03-17 17:02
I supported Bernie in 2016 and for the first time in over 50 years, I donated money to a presidential candidate. Then I saw the red, white, and blue Bernie coffee mugs and I liked them so much I bought one for myself and one for each of my Bernie-supporti ng adult children. When my mug arrived, to my surprise, the country of origin was not just a paper label. The outside bottom of the mug had an eagle head and “MADE IN USA” in the pottery. AND, on the front of the mug, under “FOR PRESIDENT”, was a union label.