Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign is offering broad protections to transgender and illegal immigrant employees as part of its collective bargaining agreement, according to the Washington Examiner, which obtained a copy of the contract.
The Sanders campaign — which has touted the socialist senator as the most pro-worker candidate — became the first presidential campaign in history to unionize this year.
“Bernie Sanders is the most pro-union candidate in the field, he’ll be the most pro-union president in the White House and we’re honored that his campaign will be the first to have a unionized workforce,” Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir announced in March.
The statement added that the “majority of the campaign’s bargaining unit employees designated the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 to represent them as their exclusive bargaining representative.”
The Washington Examiner obtained a copy of the bargaining agreement, which contains a variety of protections for a plethora of diversity-centered issues, from transgender worker rights to implicit bias training.
The agreement allows the union to create committees designed to tackle issues such as “‘diversity, anti-harassment, microaggression, transgender worker rights, gender neutrality, inclusion, and implicit bias training,'” the Examiner reports.
The agreement specifically requires the Sanders campaign to keep track of an employee’s “gender expression” and “preferred gender pronouns” and specifies that transgender employees may use whichever bathroom they identify with. It also requires fellow employees to “refer to transgender Employees by the names they choose and the pronouns they identify with.” Additionally, “boarding materials and policy manuals” are expected to refrain from gendered language.
The agreement states in part:
In order to best balance the personal preferences of all Employees, supervisors and Employees will be encouraged to make preferred pronouns a part of introductions at meetings, but no Employee will be required to state a preference, nor shall they be discriminated against for not stating a preference at such meetings.
The contract also outlines protections for individuals who are not lawfully in the United States, even requiring the campaign to provide “English as a Second Language (ESL) and literacy classes to Employees, either directly or in partnership with not-for-profit ESL providers.”
The Sanders campaign is also forbidden from asking about a candidate’s criminal history or conduct a background check on a potential employee prior to an offer, nor will an employee’s absence due to “detention or incarceration by law enforcement pursuant to the Employees’ citizenship status or Visa status” lead to any discipline or be recorded on his attendance record.
In the case of a Social Security “No-Match” letter, a notice from the federal government if a potential illegal immigrant falsified his social security number, the Sanders’ campaign is forbidden from contacting the Social Security Administration and cannot “interrogate any Employees about their SSN.” The contract also outlines strict rules prohibiting campaign workers from cooperating with federal immigration officers.
The Sanders campaign hit a rough patch over the summer after facing accusations of retaliating against staffers for unionizing. An unnamed individual listed the alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act, accusing the campaign of “retaliation, repudiation, interrogation, discipline, and discharge.”
As Breitbart News reported:
The complaint alleges that the campaign terminated three employees “because the employees joined or supported a labor organization and in order to discourage union activities and/or membership.” It further states that the campaign disciplined or retaliated against three employees “because the employees engaged in protected concerted activities by, inter alia, discussion wages, hours, or other terms and conditions of employment and in order to discourage employees from engaging in protected concerted activities.”
The report coincided with complaints from Sanders campaign employees, who accused the campaign of paying field organizers “poverty wages.”
While Sanders initially suggested that they would make $15 an hour a reality by limiting employee hours, the two sides underwent negotiations and eventually reached an agreement.
Despite suffering a heart attack last week, Sanders is determined to get back on the campaign trail and expected to participate in the October 15 Democrat primary debate in Westerville, Ohio.