Biden campaign HQ staffers finalize union agreement, 1st presidential reelection campaign to do so

ByKevin Liptak CNNWire logo
Friday, May 31, 2024
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Staffers at President Joe Biden's campaign headquarters in Delaware finalized a union contract last week after collective bargaining negotiations, making Biden the first incumbent to run for reelection with a unionized workforce and underscoring his pro-labor outlook.

The video is from a previous report.

Officials said the new contract covers wages, time off and severance, among other issues. The unionization effort is affiliated with the Campaign Workers Guild, a non-partisan labor union founded in 2017 to represent workers on campaigns and political committees.

"We are proud of the professional and collaborative process that has resulted in a strong, fair and equitable agreement between the Biden-Harris staff and the Campaign Workers Guild," read a joint statement between the Guild and Biden's campaign issued first to CNN. "Both of our organizations believe standing up for workers' rights and the dignity of work is paramount, and we hope this process can be a powerful example for how future campaigns and unions can work together to achieve an agreement everyone can be proud of."

The agreement went into effect on May 23, according to an official, and covers nearly 100 campaign workers. The number of unionized staffers is growing by the week as the campaign increases its payrolls ahead of November's election.

President Joe Biden speaks to staff and volunteers at the Biden campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, in February. Biden is the first incumbent to run for reelection with a unionized workforce.
President Joe Biden speaks to staff and volunteers at the Biden campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, in February.
Alex Brandon/AP/File via CNN Newsource

Included in the contract are severance and a continuation of benefits after the November 5 election, increased time off for workers, monthly child care reimbursement, disciplinary protections, caps on hours worked, and health and safety protections.

Field organizers on Biden's previous campaign unionized in May 2020. They worked with Teamsters Local 238 to secure a $15 minimum wage, overtime pay if working more than 40 hours in a week and a six-day work week.

Presidential campaign work can be notoriously grueling, with long hours and low pay exchanged for the experience and the career benefit of working in American politics at the highest level.

Democratic campaigns and committees have embraced moves by their staff to unionize in recent years as they look to live up to the pro-labor platforms they pitch to voters. It comes as the president has sought to strengthen his union bona fides as he prepares to face off against former President Donald Trump, who is also making a play for union voters heading into November.

Trump's campaign staff is not represented by a union.

"President Biden pledged to be the most pro-union president ever, and he's followed through on that promise at every turn - with today's important news as just the latest example," Biden's campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said. "Joe Biden has spent his career standing with workers, and just as they did four years ago, he's proud that his staff has come together and successfully unionized."

Biden has sought to amplify his pro-labor credentials, naming himself the "most pro-union president in history" and heavily courting powerful unions to endorse his presidential bid. He's been endorsed by the United Autoworkers and the Building Trades Unions. Both he and Trump have also met with the Teamsters union to court the group's support.

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