Good thing Bernie Sanders is raising all those millions: He’s going to need them to pay his employees.
The Sanders presidential campaign is the first to unionize, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400 couldn’t be happier.
While presidential campaigns are known for their grueling 24/7 schedules, the new contract between employees and Sanders “sets new standards,” according to the UFCW.
“I am so proud to be taking this historical step of becoming the first-ever presidential campaign with a unionized workforce,” Krista Harness, a Senior Development Manager, said in a union statement. “I know that our newly ratified union contract will make our workplace more equitable, fair and resilient, and our overall campaign will be much stronger with the protections we were able to win for the workers.”
“What this union pulled off will change the way presidential campaigns are run in this country,” campaign digital team staffer Bianca Márquez, said. “Representing a talented and diverse group of campaign staffers at the bargaining table and in a contract was no easy task, but we came together in support of one common goal: achieving the best contract possible and setting a new standard for the industry. As a member of the bargaining committee for the Bernie 2020 staff union, I could not be more proud of what we collectively accomplished.”
Despite the hectic, unpredictable demands of a campaign, Sanders is just going to have to get used to adjusting to his employees.
According to the union, “… the collective bargaining agreement establishes a clear but flexible workweek, as well as days off each month where the employee is not on call. It 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.”
That’s not all:
The contract sets clearly defined wages and benefits along with the opportunity for employees to earn performance raises. Field organizers, who will eventually constitute the vast majority of campaign staff, will have 100 percent of their health care premiums paid for by the campaign. And interns in the national headquarters will make a minimum of $20/hour along with full medical benefits. All hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay. In addition to health insurance, the contract provides broad coverage for mental health care services.
True to the tenants of socialism, Sanders agreed to “cap” the pay of campaign management “proportional to union employees’ salaries.”
It also provides “comprehensive protections for immigrant and transgender workers,” according to the UFCW.
Sanders advance team member John Marzabadi said the “most worker-friendly campaign in the race ought to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.”
The contract covers about 100 employees, according to the New York Times.