Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » The pros and cons of a campaign workers union
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
The pros and cons of a campaign workers union

Monday, Mar 5, 2018

* My Crain’s Chicago Business column

According to OpenSecrets.org, a total of $6.5 billion was spent nationwide on the 2016 campaign by presidential and congressional candidates.

Closer to home, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says $134 million was spent on state legislative races in Illinois during the 2016 cycle and an additional $11 million or so on the special election for Illinois comptroller.

A huge chunk of that money is spent on advertising, which is incredibly expensive.

A smaller portion goes to campaign staff. Most of those workers are grossly underpaid, vastly overworked—regularly logging 80-hour weeks and even more—and too often treated like rented mules. Toward the end of campaigns, some candidates even decide to put all the cash they have left into advertising instead of paying their workers. As former campaign spokesman Lance Trover recently wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, with tongue only partially in cheek, life for campaign workers “is nothing short of a living hell.”

Enter the Campaign Workers Guild, a newly formed union that has so far negotiated contracts with a couple of Democratic congressional campaigns, one in Wisconsin and one in Pennsylvania. The union was in Springfield on Feb. 27 to talk to a handful of campaign staffers about the benefits of union membership.

We’ve talked about this topic before, but the rest of the column is something I haven’t written about until now, so click here and read the whole thing before commenting, please. Thanks.

Also, I noticed something the other day as I was preparing to write this column. I’d earlier posted two videos of the campaign union’s press conference and one of them got 362 views, which is pretty successful for such a long video of a mere press conference with three reporters. I didn’t think it would get anywhere near 100.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:27 am:

    It will be interesting to see how many candidates are willing to “walk the talk.” A fair wage? Reasonable hours? A safe work environment?

    And, if they argue that each campaign is a lone entity, have they expressed support for unionizing workers at fast food franchises?

    Let’s drop the hypocrisy and see who actually supports the rights of workers.


  2. - Maybe - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    Well said. Perhaps …being sarcastic…this would give them (politicians) a view of the other side…Perhaps learning how to treat peeps in a responsible manner or even as a fair share dues payor would or could be the new standard…Accountability across the board… Actually…. now.. I tbink its a great idea..


  3. - anon2 - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    == Maybe it’s just time to start treating people better.==

    We can’t count on most employers to do that voluntarily. It’s not until workers have a voice that working conditions significantly improve.


  4. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    I remember when you got paid in cash, which was a killer at tax time, and when health insurance was something only rich campaigns provided. We’ve come a long way baby.

    But treating people well is more than decent wages, hours and insurance. Campaigns don’t need unions to treat people better, they can and should be doing that already.


  5. - PJ - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    A guild card is the way to do it. You can’t individually unionize every campaign, there’s too many. But you can get all the talent (and there’s not a huge pool) to get a guild card so that prospective employers know that hiring those people comes with the expectation they’ll negotiate reasonable working conditions.


  6. - PJ - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:35 am:

    ==Campaigns don’t need unions to treat people better, they can and should be doing that already==

    Sure. But just like in every other abusive work situation in history, it’s not going to happen until it’s forced to happen.


  7. - blue dog dem - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    “Fair wage”. I wonder how much that is, if you had to hand out material or talk on the phone saying how Bruce Rauner has done a good job and deserves a second term. Is there enough money in the world?


  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    PJ, that’s not true. I’ve worked on dozens of campaigns and have never felt mistreated. In my experience, campaigns that treat staff poorly are the exception and they are rare cases.

    For a union to be successful it has to offer something of value to campaigns. I don’t see what that is yet.


  9. - Texas Red - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    like in any other job search, you have to interview the company or in this case the campaign just as much as they interview you.


  10. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:48 am:

    ==For a union to be successful it has to offer something of value to campaigns. I don’t see what that is yet.==

    One possibility would be to organize like the Building Trades with training and apprenticeships.


  11. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:50 am:

    I would like to see a campaign limit on staff. A small one.


  12. - Bothanspied - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    I wonder if there will be forced union dues /snark


  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    contrarian view: most (volunteers) know, or should know, the hell that is campaign work. It is not forced labor - they can quit. That goes for paid staff as well. On the other hand, if a candidate doesn’t do everything possible to show thanks, gratitude and understanding, they are idiots.


  14. - SaulGoodman - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 10:56 am:

    **For a union to be successful it has to offer something of value to campaigns. I don’t see what that is yet.**

    That’s… not how unions work. A union’s job is not to provide value to the employer. It is to protect workers.


  15. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    ==I would like to see a campaign limit on staff.==

    Why do you care how many staff a campaign has?


  16. - PJ - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    ==I’ve worked on dozens of campaigns and have never felt mistreated.==

    That’s good, and I’m not saying that sarcastically. But you’re lucky. I think most campaign vets on here would not recount the stories of living in supporter housing, working 90 hours a week for $10/hour with fondness.


  17. - City Zen - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    ==It is not forced labor - they can quit.==

    You could apply this reasoning to any other job.


  18. - Been There - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    One issue that could be a problem is how the work rules are written as to who does what. Most union contracts have rules on who can preform certain duties. Obviously campaigns rely on volunteers also and the unionized workers contract might spell out only those covered by the contract can preform those duties.


  19. - A Jack - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    I can see possibly a campaign workers union being a benefit for the workers if it increases the likelihood of fair pay.

    I never knew campaign workers were paid. That might entice me to look at campaign work to supplement my retirement income after I retire. Good exercise, pay, possibly union benefits, it certainly beats being a Walmart greeter.


  20. - Reaganing - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    Anyone spending 80 hours a week in a campaign office is doing it wrong. I’m tired of the antiquated thinking that you have to hunker down in these offices. To do what? If your volunteers and interns are gone why be there? People are overweening themselves for no reason. You’re an at will employee. Underpaid, maybe but it’s essentially an entry level position. I’m hearing of people making mid to upper 30s. That’s in line. If you’re an at will employee and don’t like it, quit. I think there is a lot of dated thinking on campaigns but unionizing is not the fix.


  21. - SueFromSandwich - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:12 am:

    Unions should refuse to give campaign money to candidates who don’t use union staff. That would either force the democrat party to unionize or learn to live on only trail lawyer money.


  22. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    ==most (volunteers) know, or should know, the hell that is campaign work. It is not forced labor - they can quit.==

    Seriously? That is the argument the right uses to disparage regulations covering worker safety, the minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, any unionization, etc. It’s BS.


  23. - Honeybear - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    I am proud that they are
    Seizing the means of production.


  24. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    ===You could apply this reasoning to any other job. ===

    And to Janus.


  25. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    Maybe a good idea. But it’s not just staff at the end of the campaign and pay issues. I have encountered lots of vendors and consultants who get stiffed. People talk. Then there is the “we’ll get you another gig to get paid” when they haven’t paid you for the current circumstances. Ending a campaign without debt is a good idea.


  26. - Miss Marie - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    It’s pretty easy to pick out what commenters have never worked a campaign before or have only worked on the easy ones before. It’s almost amusing.

    ==Anyone spending 80 hours a week in a campaign office is doing it wrong. I’m tired of the antiquated thinking that you have to hunker down in these offices.==
    ====It is not forced labor - they can quit.==

    Lol have you never worked a close race before??? There is always something more to do on campaigns and there are not enough hours in a day. There’s data to enter, lists to run, volunteers to call…

    And, yeah, campaign workers can quit, and then what? Unless you’re related to someone, you have a really hard time getting your foot in the door in politics or government. The last campaign I worked on, I would wake up every morning with dread, and tell myself that I only needed to stick it out a little longer and it would be worth it once I got a real job.

    One last point–about “interviewing the employer.” I have worked for some of the best candidates out there who cared about my wellbeing. But that doesn’t matter if the machine hires the campaign manager or field director, because that individual cares about results, not your wellbeing. And yes, the candidate should know what goes on in their own campaign, but most times they don’t. The manager or director know how to fill you with guilt if you want to distract the candidate, or scare you about being black listed.


  27. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    Why stop with campaign staff. They could amend current law to allow legislative staff to unionize!


  28. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 5, 18 @ 3:36 pm:

    If somebody had told me about this campaign worker unionization effort over coffee– and if I had not just seen this piece posted on Capfax linking a Crain’s article with Rich’s byline– I’d honestly have thought it was The Onion.


  29. - Blue dog dem - Tuesday, Mar 6, 18 @ 6:52 am:

    How about all campaign material printed by union.printers as well as all campaign goodies manufactured in the USA.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Question of the day
* School has kid slapped with felony eavesdropping charge
* AG Madigan to file lawsuit challenging "cruel and unconstitutional policy" at southern border
* Rep. Andersson tries a comeback
* CTU's Lewis to retire
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Rauner brags he's "dramatically" reduced Medicaid enrollment, but hit on "failing" computer system
* Fitch: "The enacted budget entails significant implementation risk"
* *** UPDATED x2 - Pritzker campaign calls comments "racist" *** After Black Caucus backlash, Gov. Rauner says he's "Not surprised they're sensitive because the black legislators really have not been serving their community very well"
* Rep. Chad Hays to resign
* The local news memory hole
* No Janus ruling today
* Police chiefs want Rauner to veto hemp bill
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner campaign responds *** New Pritzker TV ad blames Rauner for job losses to neighboring states
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


* BGA President: Rauner budget a shaky platform f.....
* Statehouse Insider: Wait almost over for Janus .....
* Dragon Boat Race held in Chicago to spread Chin.....
* WWE Hall Of Famer Harley Race comments on Vader.....
* Crain's Chicago Business: Illinois' exi.....
* Miller: It's just one poll in June..
* SVM EDITORIAL: Let schools, not state, determin.....
* School districts nervous about possible $40000 .....
* Gov. Rauner's legacy rests with the US Supr.....
* Morrison says there's no room in budget to .....


* LGBT-friendly affordable housing units to open in Chicago
* Alleged police misconduct may cost Chicago $6 million
* Illinois man flees police, banned from motorcycle for year
* Illinois-Kentucky ferry may sink under rising costs
* Illinois WWII vet receives France's highest honor
* University of Illinois seeks dismissal of free speech suit
* Zoning exception OK'd for seed company near Springfield
* University will honor alumnus who stopped Indiana shooting
* Illinois finalizes its plans to prevent another Russian hack
* EXCHANGE: Marengo families seeking normalcy year after blast

* Illinois finalizes its plans to prevent another Russian hack
* Illinois stands to gain from Supreme Court decision
* Records: Mansion used in Rauner's 'Porcelain Prince' ad got its own tax reduction
* Illinois politicians seek answers to family separations at border
* 80+ years later, Meredosia woman sees the opening of another new bridge
* Chatham man wins Illinois Bicentennial coin design contest
* Rauner to consider allowing medical cannabis for opioid patients
* Bipartisan work yields gun bills, fate rests with Rauner
* Rauner names Justin Blandford curator of Governor's Mansion
* Rauner names Williamsville woman interim HFS director

* Mariano's parent buys turnaround time
* Trump's tariff tweet spurs consternation at local car dealerships
* Illinois' existential problem: Shrinking number of young people
* Chicago set for another big TV year
* Chicago manufacturer automates—then hires


* 2 shot in Washington Park
* Horoscope for June 24, 2018
* Burglars stealing from garages in Logan Square: police
* Tempers flare as ‘searching’ Cubs drop third straight to last-place Reds
* US military moves 100 coffins to North Korean border for war remains
* Trump administration seeks to expand immigrant family detention
* Vote for Pedro: Strop starts All-Star write-in campaign for Albert Almora Jr.
* Man shot in head in Englewood
* Sox blow lead as Dylan Covey exits with injury, lose 7-6 to A’s
* Sox notebook: Miguel Gonzalez, Nicky Delmonico injury updates


* English bulldog Zsa Zsa wins World's Ugliest Dog contest
* North Korea sticks with 'new era' pledge despite Trump's reversal over nuclear threat level
* U.S. officials separated him from his daughter. Then he was deported to El Salvador.
* Trump administration says it has plan to reunite 2,053 separated children still in custody
* Pitcher Edwin Jackson on cusp of tying major-league record by playing for 13th team
* Federal cybersecurity funds aimed at preventing another Russian hack into Illinois' elections
* Reds crush Cubs 11-2 for third straight win in series
* Justice Department gives Congress new classified documents on Russia probe
* Willson Contreras says his lack of a 'thank-you' to ump led to bench coach's ejection
* 1 dead, 1 wounded in Englewood shootings


» ‘That’s A Sad Woman’: Struggling Lincoln Foundation To Sell Monroe, Sandburg Photos
» The Week in Review: Immigration Debate Explodes in Chicago
» Rauner: Black Legislators Not Serving Their Community
» State Week: Online Sales Taxes; CPS Scandal; Rauner Takes On Black Caucus
» WBEZ’s Chicago And Illinois News Roundup: June 22, 2018
» Jurors Get Close-Up View Of Chicago Politics In Probes Of Shootings By Cops
» Ailing Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis Retiring
» Rebecca Makkai, Author Of ‘The Great Believers’; Crowded Starved Rock; Illinois Outdoor Destinations
» Cook County To Hire Sexual Harassment Watchdog
» #656 Hinds & Opinions on Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Parquet Courts & More


* Angie Muhs: Goal of opinion page is to spark discussion and thought
* BGA President: Rauner budget a shaky platform for campaign
* Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln: Women for Women making new connections
* Illinois finalizes its plans to prevent another Russian hack
* Our View: Hearing should focus on solutions for DCFS children
* Statehouse Insider: Wait almost over for Janus decision
* George Will: Charles Krauthammer, a diagnostician of our public discontents
* Ed Rogers: Democrats still have no message on the economy or jobs
* Point: Obamacare's constitutionality ends when its tax ends
* Counterpoint: Injustice reigns as Trump's Justice Department attacks Obamacare


* One arrested after apparent standoff
* Williamson County to let voters decide whether it should be a sanctuary for gun owners
* Healthcare mission provides free care to Southern Illinoisans
* Land of Lincoln hosts clinic to expunge or seal criminal records in Carbondale
* Save Our Streets: Event battles violence, celebrates talent
* Peoria Heights police go live with body cameras
* Troy man arrested, charged with manslaughter and sexual assault
* Relay For Life raises $255,300; more coming in
* Family meets for 100th annual reunion in Decatur
* Lakside Water district lifts boil order


* Justin Haley races to first NASCAR Truck victory
* Smith scores in 7th extra minute, Rapids beat United 3-2
* Smith's stoppage-time goal helps Rapids snap skid
* The Latest: English bulldog Zsa Zsa wins Ugliest Dog contest
* New Zealand leader names daughter Neve, leaves hospital

* Pro-life groups have an obligation to call...
* Chuck Sweeny: 16th District congressional ...
* Chicago rally protests Trump's border ...
* Illinois finalizes its plans to prevent an...
* Biofuel Trade Groups Express Concerns Abou...
* Illinois' officials weigh in on immigr...
* Opioid bills could net millions for companies
* House subcommittee holds hearing on advanc...
* Farm bill passes House with welfare-to-wor...
* LETTER: Will Rep. John Faso take stand on ...

* Across the city, Chicagoans protest Trump ......
* Chicagoans Rally For Border Children To Re......
* How Stephen Miller, the architect behind T......
* Officials Share Info on Immigrant Kids in ......
* WATCH: Democratic candidate Londrigan brin......

* Kankakee not on map...
* Senate Passes Duckworth & Durbin Amend......
* Pulse of the Voters: The increasing influe......
* Tammy Duckworth TV Commercials Ads...
* Mazie Hirono, Tammy Duckworth, and ......

* IIT Hyderabad builds dataset to understand online user-engagement
* Imagining A Blockchain University
* 5 WaysDigital Connectivity is Revolutionising Education
* 4 Powerful Ways to Use Games in eLearning
* Why Companies Are Taking It Upon Themselves to Help Workers Learn New Skills
* Preparing students for workplace of the future
* I'm know I'm late on Korea
* Lionel's Ready For Pride - Are You?
* An Anniversary Worth Bragging About
* Pride Cleaners has a new owner


* Chairman Fratianni selected for national workers' comp leadership role
* Unemployment Rate Continues Falling in All Metro Areas

  
* BlackBerry security tools are coming to CAT and Land Rover smartphones
* PayPal touts global reach as mobile wallets pop up in APAC
* The Meizu 16 will cost less than $615
* Microsoft unexpectedly drops Windows 7 support for some ancient CPUs
* Nokia 7 Plus ARCore support is now live
* Smartphone World Cup: Round of 16, part 1
* Walmart will begin selling an exclusive monthly DC comic anthology in July

* Most Essential White Sox Vote: Round 35
* White Sox can't hold early lead as Covey exits
* Sox shaken and stirred in loss
* Anderson celebrates birthday with 13th homer
* White Sox pitcher Dylan Covey discusses the groin injury tha...
* Anderson hits 13th homer as Athletics top White Sox 7-6
* Yolmer Sanchez made a heads-up play to catch Dustin Fowler off base...


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller