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Campaign Workers Guild holds first Springfield meeting

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018

* Tribune

Hours after Madigan released the abridged list of complaints, a group of Chicago Democrats opened discussions with campaign workers and a union group over how to prevent abuse and harassment in Illinois’ raucous political environment. About a half-dozen staff members and three lawmakers attended the meeting, which focused primarily on pay, long hours, troubles with temporary housing and sexual harassment.

Emma LaBounty, a member of the executive council of the fledgling Campaign Workers Guild, said the union is getting started by organizing individual campaigns throughout the country. So far, she said, the union has reached contracts with only a handful of campaigns but is working with dozens to organize at the local, state and federal levels. […]

[Alaina Hampton], a former foot soldier in Madigan’s political organization [who has complained about sexual harassment], attended the gathering and plans to meet with a legislative women’s caucus Wednesday. […]

“Now more than ever, campaign workers need protection and the kind of safe work environment I didn’t have access to,” Hampton told the Tribune late Tuesday. “The guild is a step in the right direction.”

A Chicago meeting is in the works.

* I took video of the press conference. It’s in two parts because I had to stop and quickly answer some urgent text messages. Part One

* Part Two

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    When unions are struggling to maintain a presence throughout the nation, I’m not seeing a new union for campaign workers making much of a dent.

    I started typing the reasons this will go nowhere, but I don’t even think it’s worth my time.

    I would urge these folks to forget about the “union” or “collective bargaining” premise of the organization and head in the direction of a professional association. That association could propose and advocate for a “bill of rights” or a “code of conduct” …

    Frankly, I’d love to see a “code of conduct” imposed on political campaigns for candidates and workers. But that’s tinfoil hat time.


  2. - George - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    “which focused primarily on pay, long hours, troubles with temporary housing and sexual harassment.”

    I’m so over millennials. This is what happens when everyone gets a gold star growing up. If you think campaign work hard, don’t do it. It’s seasonal, bi annual work. It’s not like political campaigns are the only factory in town making a huge profit on the back of workers and refusing to pay the workers their fair share. Pay is low because the campaign has finite resources it needs to spend on messaging; the hours long because there is a clock ticking down to election day; temporary housing is difficult because temporary housing is always difficult. Obviously campaign workers (or anyone else) shouldn’t be sexually harassed, but the rest of it is just lunacy.


  3. - City Zen - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 12:29 pm:

    George, they’re not on your lawn.


  4. - Norseman - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    Well said, City Zen.


  5. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 12:36 pm:

    George- it strikes me that you display the exact reason why they organized. Nice job boomer. You just brought about the very thing you hate.

    Direct action gets satisfaction
    Sisters and brothers

    Remember people like George are there to bring you down.
    Proud of you.
    Especially millenials who continually
    Show this Gen-x’er how it’s done.
    You’re a great generation.


  6. - George - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 1:03 pm:

    I’m sorry I suggested hard work isn’t a bad thing, kids. Go Bernie.


  7. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 1:06 pm:

    Most young people I know hate partisan politics and everything associated with it.


  8. - Gen Xer - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    I’m so over boomers. This is what happens when everyone gets a good job ahnded to them with no effort. If you think it’s easy to get by by just working hard, you’ve clearly never had to deal with the job market that’s been in America since the mid-90’s. It’s not factory in town making a huge profits and paying union wages and benefits are hiring people with little formal education. Pay is low because productivity has increased year over year but corporations have just kept al those profit for themselves without making life materially better for workers. And when workers do say things like ‘maybe I should earn enough to buy food and housing and have some left over to save for retirement and maybe take my partner out for tacos once in a while’ all the entitled boomers start wagging their fingers and lecturing us about how hard they had to work, back when you could walk out of high school and into a decent, unionized job.

    And neither Gen X nor the Millennials asked for a ‘gold star’ - it was your generation that handed out participation trophies because you couldn’t deal with the fact that maybe your kid was just average and not the Next Big Thing.


  9. - George - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    So, the economy is terrible for your generation, and your response is to unionize campaigns to make them easier to work on, rather than put your hearts and souls into campaigns to get people elected who might do something about the economy that’s holding your generation back? Ok.


  10. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    Another forgotten issue is campaign warriors falling behind on pensions. Go off payroll 6 mo out of 24, and you are 3yrs behind after 12 yrs. raises don’t make up for it.

    No big deal when you are 22, hurts later. Also fall behind getting to trigger for more vacation.


  11. - Groucho - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 1:51 pm:

    This is great. Every Dem who claims to be a progressive should hire only union staff.


  12. - City Zen - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    George - If you replace “campaign” with “factory” in your statement, do you feel the same way?

    Put your heart and soul into work…pay no mind to your low salary or long hours…company succeeds… maybe you can share in the wealth.


  13. - George - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 3:38 pm:

    City Zen — No, I don’t. That’s why I said a campaign is not like a factory. If you don’t like campaign work, don’t do campaign work. People at the factory may not have that option. That said, people who pour their heart and souls into a company are often rewarded for their work.


  14. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Feb 28, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    Like grumpy George, this mid-Boomer might have spewed a few worn-out talking points about “entitled millennials” until recently. Observing the bright, articulate, up in your face students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas in the wake of the tragedy in their midst changed my view and gives me hope for the future.


  15. - Honeybear - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 7:58 am:

    Well said Arthur Andersen, well said.
    But George- Millennials and most Gen-X are so over the “pour your heart and souls into a company and you’ll get rewarded” narrative.
    For most of our generations
    That was a Total Lie.
    total lie
    The “company” has shafted
    anybody and anything
    for profit.
    The corporate ladder
    The American dream
    was
    and is
    Perfidy


  16. - Honeybear - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 8:02 am:

    I am so proud
    and inspired
    by these campaign workers.
    They are fighters
    They are leaders
    and they will take up
    banner of organized labor
    That Gen-x and the boomers
    let fall to the ground.
    we failed
    They will move it forward.


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