Home 2019 Elections Will Democratic Party of Virginia Staff Unionize?

Will Democratic Party of Virginia Staff Unionize?

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By Josh Stanfield of Activate Virginia

Last week, I ran across an obscure story out of South Dakota that piqued my curiosity. I’d never really looked into which state parties were unionized, but it makes intuitive sense and is clearly in line with Democratic Party priorities. No need to read all 50 pages – check page four of the Democratic Party Platform:


“The Democratic Party believes that when workers are strong, America is strong. Democrats will make it easier for workers, public and private, to exercise their right to organize and join unions.”

Have Staff of Other State Democratic Parties Unionized?

Upon further investigation, I found that staff of five Democratic state parties have unionized since late 2017, as have a few coordinated campaigns. Here’s a timeline that includes the state party/coordinated campaign and organizing union.

[March 2019] South Dakota State Democratic Party Staff, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) 304A.

[October 2018] North Carolina Coordinated Campaign (Break the Majority), Campaign Workers Guild.

[August 2018] Washington State Democratic Party Staff, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 1094.

[August 2018] Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Workers, Campaign Workers Guild.

[July 2018] Ohio Coordinated Campaign, Campaign Workers Guild.

[May 2018] Oklahoma Democratic Party Staff, Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 381.

[December 2017] Idaho Democratic Party Staff, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 291.

[November 2017] Vermont Democratic Party Staff, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4.

A Resolution & A Memo

So what about Virginia? Though it’s a question that’s ultimately up to the workers themselves, there’s a small way for us to demonstrate our commitment to collective bargaining rights and better workplaces.

Over the next week, we’ll be drafting a resolution that:

(1) Reiterates the Democratic Party of Virginia’s commitment to workers’ rights, collective bargaining, and unionization.

(2) Asks DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker and DPVA Executive Director Chris Bolling to send a memo to all DPVA staff reiterating the above commitments and outlining the basic steps that staff, if interested, can take to join a union.

The resolution will be submitted for consideration by the Resolutions Committee of the DPVA State Central Committee – and any local or CD committees whose members so desire.

We’ll all work from a shared Google Doc, so if anyone has input or is interested in collaborating, please send me an email at josh@activatevirginia.org.