DFL campaign workers unionize

MN_DFL_blue_previewCampaign workers at Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party joined the labor movement last week.

After a majority of DFL coordinated campaign workers expressed support for the union drive, two worker representatives approached party chair Ken Martin on Friday with a request for voluntary recognition of their union, which he granted.

“Campaign workers are at risk for long hours, low wages, exploitative conditions and hostile work environments,” DFL coordinated campaign worker Nathan Lewicki said. “Forming a union protects the workforce and ensures fairness for all.”

Although the bargaining unit has yet to be finalized, more than 50 DFL staffers are likely to be eligible, according to Ihaab Syed, secretary of the Campaign Workers Guild. It marks the CWG’s largest successful organizing drive since launching as an independent, nationwide union last year.

CWG currently represents about 125 non-management workers on issue-based and political campaigns in eight states. That already includes Minnesota, where workers on two active political campaigns have collective bargaining agreements.

The fledgling union will nearly double its membership once coordinated campaign workers in Ohio and Minnesota approve first contracts. Coordinated campaigns are the core organizing apparatus for state Democratic parties during major elections.

Syed said DFL workers pressed Martin to recognize their bargaining unit last week so that the issue would be settled before the party’s get-out-the-vote blitz for today’s statewide primary election.

The state’s largest labor federation, the Minnesota AFL-CIO, cheered DFL workers’ decision to unionize.

“We commend the DFL Party and Chair Ken Martin for voluntarily recognizing their workers’ choice to organize with the Campaign Workers Guild,” Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy said. “All working people, whether they be educators, construction workers, nurses, or campaign staff, should have the freedom to join together to negotiate a fair return on their work.”

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