DNC staff votes to unionize, paving the way for Democratic campaigns and party arms

The staff of the Democratic National Committee have been attempting to unionize since shortly after the 2020 election

Updated: January 4, 2022 - 3:13pm

The staff of the Democratic National Committee voted Tuesday in favor of unionizing and joining with SEIU Local 500. The union will now begin contract negotiations with DNC leadership.

"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," said Alison Goh, a DNC staffer and union leader. 

Former Maryland Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards served as a neutral observer selected by DNC staffers and leadership.

Sam Cornale, the executive director of the organization said, "Today, the DNC is proud to voluntarily recognize SEIU Local 500 after a majority of DNC employees expressed their desire for union representation in a mutually agreed-upon bargaining unit."

He also said the DNC looks forward to negotiating a collective bargaining agreement "in the near future."

The SEIU Local 500 represents employees of a handful of nonprofits in the greater the Washington, D.C. area, and, according to the DNC, is the fastest growing union in the region. 

It is unclear how the successful effort to unionize at the Democratic party's official headquarters will impact other high-profile Democratic campaigns and facets of the party.

In 2019, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and independent who ran for the White House on the Democratic ticket, became the first major-party candidate for the presidency to have a unionized staff for his campaign. Several of Sanders' fellow primary contenders, who also failed to clinch the nomination, followed suit and allowed their staffs to unionize.