Richmond, VA — After voting to unionize in September, Democratic Party of Virginia office staff have successfully ratified their first union contract in an unprecedented step for labor organizing in Democratic politics. The DPVA staff are represented by UFCW Local 400, making them one of the first state party staffs in the country to successfully organize and reach a collective bargaining agreement.
"As Democrats we talk the talk of supporting workers and unions, but we have to walk the walk as well. I'm proud to lead a state party that is at the forefront of the movement to organize campaign and political workers. This contract will help ensure DPVA lives up to our Democratic values and remains a strong state party organization for years to come," said DPVA Chair Susan Swecker.
"This is the first time anyone on DPVA staff has joined a union, and I'm incredibly proud of what we accomplished as a bargaining unit. As Democratic staffers, we spend our careers fighting for pro-worker candidates, and it's only right that our workplace reflects those same values. Every step of this bargaining process was smooth and amicable, and hopefully we can serve as a model for other state parties, campaigns, and committees going forward," said DPVA Communications Director Grant Fox, a member of the bargaining committee.
“This is what democracy in the workplace looks like,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400. “Working together, these workers not only formed a union for the first time in the state party's history, they have also negotiated a union contract that can serve as a standard-bearer for other campaigns and state party offices. That sort of unity and teamwork is exactly what unions are all about. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Highlights of the contract include many union protections unavailable to non-union workers, including just cause protection from unjust discipline or firing, a grievance and arbitration process to resolve disputes with management, and a progressive discipline policy.
The contract also provides many progressive policies the Democratic Party is fighting for, including paid overtime protections, paid family leave, comprehensive protections for immigrant and transgender workers, and a robust anti-discrimination policy. The contract also provides unlimited paid sick leave to all employees and the employer covers 100% of all health care premiums for employees.