Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) participates in a FOX News Town Hall at SteelStacks on April 15, 2019 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) participates in a FOX News Town Hall at SteelStacks on April 15, 2019 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Mark Makela / Stringer/ Getty Images)

'Historical Step': Bernie Sanders's 2020 Campaign Staffers Ratify Union Contract

"Our overall campaign will be much stronger with the protections we were able to win for the workers."

Andrea Germanos

Bernie Sanders's 2020 campaign workers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement.

The development, announced by the workers Wednesday, comes roughly two months after they made history by becoming the first presidential campaign staffers to unionize.

The contract, says UFCW Local 400, does a number of things.

It provides:

  • field workers with paid healthcare premiums;
  • interns a $20/hour rate and medical benefits;
  • overtime pay for hourly employees;
  • coverage for mental healthcare services;
  • a pay cap on management pay;
  • pay transparency;
  • a pay equity review process; and
  • and anti-discrimination provisions.

Such protections are especially important given the nature of campaign work, said Local 400 president Mark P. Federici.

"Political campaigns are cause-driven and because there is always more work that can be done, staffers are typically worked to the bone," said Federici, who suggested other presidential campaigns take a cue from the Sanders team.

"First, Senator Sanders walked the talk on unions, agreeing to a truly democratic process—neutrality and card check—that every responsible employer should embrace. And then, the campaign engaged in good faith bargaining, recognizing that it's in their own interest to have well-treated employees empowered to operate at the top of their games," he added. "I urge every other campaign to follow their lead."

Krista Harness, a staffer who served on the bargaining committee that led negotiations on behalf of the union, said, "I am so proud to be taking this historical step of becoming the first-ever presidential campaign with a unionized workforce."

"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," she added.

When the campaign unionized in March, Sanders said, "We cannot just support unions with words, we must back it up with actions."

"On this campaign and when we are in the White House," he added, "we are going make it easier for people to join unions, not harder."


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

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Report on Revolving Door and Tax Policy Sparks Calls for Federal Probe and Reforms

"This is an example of terrible management in the Treasury Department across multiple administrations."

Jessica Corbett ·


Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

"Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins," said one labor writer. "May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere."

Jessica Corbett ·


'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

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