DNC staffers vote to unionize with SEIU

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DNC staffers vote to unionize with SEIU

Democratic National Committee staffers have opted to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500, with approximately two-thirds of eligible employees signing their union cards.

In a statement Tuesday, the DNC confirmed that an “overwhelming margin” of workers had joined up, with former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) certifying the card count and allowing contract negotiations with DNC management to move forward.

Business Insider first reported on the union drive. 

The organizing effort is the most notable to take place in Democratic politics, potentially leading other consulting firms and political apparatuses to follow its lead.  

“We are incredibly excited to join SEIU Local 500 to live our Democratic values at our workplace,” union leader Alison Goh said in a statement issued by the DNC. “Throughout this process, our aim has been not only to improve the lives of current and future staff at the DNC, but to ensure our staff, no matter where they live, are protected and given the resources they need to thrive in their careers and succeed in our mission to elect Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Executive Director Sam Cornale said in a statement that the DNC was “voluntarily” recognizing the union.

Rep. Donna Edwards
Former Rep. Donna Edwards certified the card count.
NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

“The DNC looks forward to meeting with LocaI 500 and our employee representatives to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement in the near future,” Cornale said. “I am inspired by the incredible DNC team, and that’s especially true today as they live the values we hold dear as Democrats.”

Former DNC Chairman Tom Perez applauded the move on social media.

“Congratulations, @dncstaffunion! This new chapter will allow @TheDemocrats to best support its dedicated employees while advancing the mission of electing Democrats up and down the ballot. Looking forward to all you will accomplish in the years to come! #UnionStrong,” he tweeted.

Proponents of the move argued it will give DNC employees greater protections and resources. Republicans, however, mocked the DNC move, arguing it would hinder the political operation’s effectiveness as Democrats fight to retain their House and Senate majorities in the November midterm elections.

SEIU building
Democrats celebrated the successful unionization drive while Republicans mocked them for becoming “even more useless.”
Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA

“We applaud the DNC for rendering themselves even more useless. Perhaps they’ll offer tenure next,” RNC Chief of Staff Richard Walters said in a statement. 

GOP operative Liz Mair echoed Walters’ sentiments on Twitter.

“When I have compared GOP party practices with regard to employment and interning with Dem counterparts, I’m always stunned the Dems really do treat their juniors like s—,” she tweeted. “So this isn’t surprising I guess.”

“Like, the number of Dem friends I’ve heard from who routinely talk about people in junior positions making far less than they would at a GOP org, or having to sleep on sofas at donors’ houses because they couldn’t afford to share a house with others, etc., is much higher,” Mair added.

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