Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo