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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spoke at a rally in Fairfield, Iowa on April 6, 2019. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sanders Campaign Unveils 'Gold-Standard' Blueprint for Combating Sexual Harassment and Discrimination on 2020 Campaign

"Campaigns should live their values and align their campaign's goals for a better economy and society with their own campaign culture and workplace."

Julia Conley

Four months after meeting with former staffers to discuss their negative experiences while working on his 2016 presidential campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled new guidelines that his 2020 team will follow to combat inequality, discrimination, and sexual harassment.

The Guardian reported that the Sanders campaign used feedback from former employees as well as research into successful industry practices, partnering with the consulting firms Workplace Ideal and Redwood Enterprise to devise a "Campaign Equity Blueprint" that management and all staffers will follow.

"Campaigns should live their values and align their campaign's goals for a better economy and society with their own campaign culture and workplace," reads the blueprint. "To build a campaign that is responsive to communities across America, campaigns need to build diverse and inclusive organizations from the ground up."

"To build a campaign that is responsive to communities across America, campaigns need to build diverse and inclusive organizations from the ground up." —Campaign Equity Blueprint, Bernie 2020

In an effort to ensure an atmosphere marked by "safety, inclusion, and equity," the document says that all staffers will be required to attend training meant to eliminate sexual harassment and discrimination from the campaign and that the team will be provided with an independent hotline number to call if they experience or witness misconduct.

The 17-page document also details the fixed pay scale the campaign will adhere to in order to combat pay disparities which some women reported following Sanders's 2016 run.

Based on the best practices the campaign studied and suggestions from former employees, the campaign plans to set exact dollar amounts for jobs rather than compensation ranges, which can lead to pay inequities, and "conduct regular reviews for pay equity across roles by gender and race."

The issues addressed in the document were mentioned in a letter that former staffers sent to Sanders last December, asking the Vermont Independent to create a "gold-standard sexual harassment policy" in order to "mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle."

"Clearly we need a cultural revolution in this country to change workplace attitudes and behavior," the senator in a statement after receiving the letter. "I intend in every way to be actively involved in that process."

Weeks later, Sanders met with the former staffers to address their concerns.

After announcing his candidacy in February, Sanders named ACLU political director Faiz Shakir as his campaign manager, making him the first Muslim to lead a major presidential campaign. Seventy percent of the staffers on the senator's campaign leadership team are women, according to representatives.

By implementing new guidelines, the Campaign Equity Blueprint reads, the Sanders 2020 campaign hopes to create "an inclusive, respectful campaign culture fueled by trust."

"Major presidential campaigns should prioritize creating a safe, inclusive, and equitable campaign workplace for staff from the beginning," the blueprint says. "While campaigns may be temporary, the choices candidates make about their workplace and their staff can have a lasting impact on careers and reputations."


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