If you think unions only organize manufacturing plants and construction sites, think again.
With the 2020 election year in full swing, unions continue to form among Democratic political campaign staffers. These political staffers are using their party’s pro-union stance as an opportunity to unionize their own campaigns.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) became the first presidential campaign to unionize, with every serious Democratic presidential campaign following his lead. Field organizers for Joe Biden approved their first union contract earlier this year. With campaign jobs being known as low paying, long hour jobs, the union contracts focus on better pay and more manageable hours for campaign staffers.
The Campaign Workers Guild is a union that formed in 2017 to specifically cater to the unionization of political campaigns. And as of the end of August, the Campaign Workers Guild has negotiated dozens of union contracts, and is in negotiations for many more, according to the union’s website. Nevertheless, many of the unions organizing political campaign staff are more recognized names. For example, the union that organized the Sanders’ campaign staff was affiliated with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, in Washington D.C. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D) staffers went with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320, in New Hampshire.
This unionization of political campaigns is a good reminder to employers of all types that unions can be formed almost anywhere. The NLRA guarantees most of America’s workers the right to form a union, only excluding a handful of employees from its protections, like railroad employees (which have a separate, federal law permitting union organizing), farm workers, and independent contractors. Thus, employers concerned about the possibility of a union representing their employees should be proactive in addressing the issue and seek out qualified labor law counsel for guidance.