In a nod to its base, the Democratic Party of Oregon recognizes staff union

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The Democratic Party of Oregon’s staff is unionized. 

The party’s 10 full-time staff members voted to unionize and reached a collective bargaining agreement with the party last week, according to a Jan. 14 press release.

“As we enter the most important election year in a generation, it is critical that folks who do the hard work of electing Democrats and fighting for progressive causes have benefits and working conditions that acknowledge that labor — and that we as Democrats ‘walk the talk’ of supporting workers,” Candy Emmons, the party’s operations director and lead staff negotiator, said in a statement. 

The party’s staff will be represented by the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 1094. Its new agreement will extend to temporary workers hired during election years. 

According to the statement, the state’s Democratic Party, which counts labor as a key constituency, welcomed the move by staff to unionize.

“Unions strengthen our workforce, advocate for essential rights within the workplace and build power for working people,” said KC Hanson, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon and a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. “It is only right that the DPO’s workers enjoy the benefits of union membership.”

Jobs on political campaigns are known for being grueling, insecure and temporary. In recent years, there have been calls for political candidates and parties that tout their affinity with labor to recognize attempts by their staff to unionize. 

The staff of Democratic parties elsewhere, including Vermont and Idaho, have unionized, according to a NBC News report. The campaigns of Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang have all unionized. 

Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.