WVPA Sharing

Campaign workers with ‘Stephen Smith for WV’ vote to unionize

Press Release from campaign workers with Stephen Smith for WV:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Campaign workers with Stephen Smith for WV have ratified a collective bargaining agreement, becoming the first campaign in West Virginia history to unionize.

This contract sets industry standards for worker flexibility and high-quality benefits.

“It was important to the staff to not only improve the working conditions of current employees, but to also create a contract that lowers barriers of entry for prospective workers. That’s why this contract ensures no worker has to pay to be employed by providing a stipend to cover technology needs at the time of hire, as well as monthly stipends for healthcare, internet, and cell phone costs. In an industry that too often exploits workers’ time, this contract guarantees paid vacation and sick time as needed, sustainable caps on the number of hours worked per day or week and paid parental leave that includes school activities,” the release said.

“We are a group of young women in West Virginia who are incredibly committed to this job and the potential to make West Virginia a place we can continue to work and live,” said Sarah Hutson, field director at Smith for WV. “It was really hard for us, knowing full well what’s on the line here, to sit down and ask for more than what we were receiving. At the end of the day, we focused on creating a contract we felt embodied what our campaign seeks to bring to all West Virginians.”

Johnna Bailey, Smith for WV Finance Director, said, “Unionizing is a pain worth suffering. I am thrilled to be a part of the first unionized campaign in West Virginia. The burden of an incredibly difficult race ahead has been lightened because I know my union brothers and sisters have my back and management fully trusts us. Our contract has operationalized that confidence by offering sick and vacation time as needed and the freedom to work remotely. I encourage every West Virginia worker, no matter how small your team or what industry you’re in, to talk about unionizing with your colleagues. It’s worth it!”

“West Virginians are at the forefront of the modern union movement and we’re proud to say now our staff is too,” said Katey Lauer, Smith for WV Campaign Manager. “In this campaign, we have pledged to stand on the side of working people every time. This is one more chance for us to put that pledge into action. We were excited to support the creation of this union at the outset and are proud of our staff for raising the bar for workers’ rights in campaigns across the state and nation.”

“I could not be more proud of the workers and this contract,” said Renée Hagerty, member of the Executive Council of the Campaign Workers Guild. “Their example will pave the way for campaign workers across the country who are eager to improve our industry’s working conditions but unsure what is possible through the collective bargaining process. Everything is possible when you stand together. These workers have proven that.”

For more information, contact Katey Lauer, Campaign [email protected] | 304-546-8473

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