2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren's campaign unionizes, joining growing number of campaigns in making history

2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's campaign unionized.

June 6, 2019, 12:54 PM

The campaign of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has unionized, Warren announced on Thursday.

"My campaign has submitted their support to join @IBEW 2320," Warren said on Twitter.

Warren's campaign joins a growing number of campaigns showing support for unions and unionizing themselves. Earlier this year, the campaign staffs of both Democratic candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro became the first in history to unionize. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., has also said his campaign is unionizing.

Unions provide the power of collective bargaining, which allows workers -- in this case the campaign staff -- to negotiate with the employer -- the campaign -- in greater numbers. But the effort to unionize is not only about the working conditions of the campaign staff -- it's also a nod to support for unions across the country and the role union workers will play in electing the Democratic nominee.

"Every worker who wants to join a union, bargain collectively, & make their voice heard should have a chance to do so. The labor movement has long fought for the dignity of working people, & we’re proud to be part of it," Warren also said in announcing her campaign's decision to unionize.

The campaign unionized after a majority of members signed on to support joining the union, which was then authorized by the campaign leadership. Steve Soule, business manager for IBEW 2320, said that didn't happen "in a vacuum."

“The Warren campaign recognized [its employees] and recognized their desire to be unionized. It’s my belief that the Warren campaign, and Elizabeth Warren herself, respect the voices of workers and recognized that workers wanted to be represented and permitted that,” Soule told ABC News.

Warren frequently promises voters at her campaign rallies that she intends to "make it easier for workers to join a union." Last month, she attended a town hall in Pennsylvania with union members from the American Federation of Teachers alongside AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Though Soule did not specify what issues the campaign may seek to improve on in their union bargaining, he said the three biggest issues workers have in general are wages, benefits and working conditions. Campaigns, which can last almost two years, often require long hours and constant travel.

Any internal discussions "will be broached at the bargaining table," Soule said.

IBEW 2320 is a local New Hampshire chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, though it doesn’t only represent electricians.

The 2320 chapter specifically represents many employees who work in communications, which encompasses many campaign jobs, but the union also represents college professors, nuclear power plant employees and many others, Soule said.

It’s also a “very politically active union in New Hampshire,” Soule said, and because so many campaign staffers make their way through New Hampshire, one of the country’s earliest states to vote in the presidential contest, Soule said he meets campaign staff employees from around the country and establishes relationships with them -- one reason his chapter was chosen to represent Warren's campaign.

“A number of campaigns for office have begun right in our union hall,” Soule said.

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