Staffers at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Tuesday voted to unionize and join with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500. 

“We are incredibly excited to join SEIU Local 500 to live our Democratic values at our workplace,” DNC staffer and union leader Alison Goh said in a statement. “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.”

“As we work on our first contract with management, we thank Chair [Jaime] Harrison and DNC leadership for their vocal support of collective bargaining rights both inside and outside of the DNC Headquarters – now, let’s get to work.”

The vote was finalized by former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), who served as an independent neutral observer selected by both DNC staff and management.

The vote will now allow the union and DNC leadership to start contract negotiations.

“The DNC is strong and only getting stronger because of our smart, diverse, and resilient staff,” said DNC Executive Director Sam Cornale. “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. The DNC looks forward to meeting with Local 500 and our employee representatives to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement in the near future.”

The DNC said SEIU Local 500 is the fastest-growing union in greater Washington, D.C., and represents employees of several nonprofits in the area. The group said the process had been “collegial, efficient, and productive.”

The change in the group could influence how other party arms and campaigns approach similar efforts across the country.

The unionization effort at the DNC is one of the largest yet to take place within Democratic politics, following similar moves at various campaigns and consulting firms. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2019 became the first major-party presidential candidate to have a unionized campaign staff, and the campaigns of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro soon followed suit.

Discussions over the DNC’s unionization effort started in late 2020, after President Biden’s win in that year’s White House race.

Tags Bernie Sanders Cory Booker Democratic National Committee Donna Edwards Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Service Employees International Union

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