The campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Eves has become the first in New England history to unionize after workers voted Sunday to accept a collective bargaining agreement that includes protections such as guidelines for minimum pay and procedures for hiring and firing.
“It is long past due that Democratic candidates who claim to stand up for working people walk the walk and encourage their own campaigns to organize,” said Eves. “I want every Mainer to have access to health care, paid family leave, and protections from workplace abuse. I will push for those policies as governor and until then I’ll do what I can to ensure my staff have them now.”
Eves’ campaign staff voted to affiliate with the nascent Campaign Workers Guild, a groundbreaking national effort to organize and protect oft-exploited political campaign workers.
“I’m proud to be a part of a campaign that’s actually living Democratic values, and not just talking about them,” said Claire Cummings, field director for Mark Eves for Maine, which is now the third gubernatorial campaign in the nation to organize, following workers for Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cathy Glasson and Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial candidate Erin Murphy.
Portland resident Meg Reilly, who serves as national vice president of CWG, said that campaign workers are “sick and tired of candidates who identify themselves as pro-union or pro-worker when they fail to guarantee the same labor rights they claim to support.”
Cummings said that for her it “wasn’t a surprise that Mark would support this decision–he’s always been on the side of working Mainers–but it’s still very exciting for all of us. Hopefully our decision to unionize will set a new standard for campaign work in Maine.”
Adding to his pro-worker bona-fides, Eves, a licensed family therapist who spent eight years in the Maine House of Representatives, was also named winner of the straw poll taken by members of Maine AFL-CIO, MEA, MSEA, and the Maine Building and Construction Trades Council at the Labor Governor’s Debate in Winslow on Saturday.
From left to right: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Eves, finance director Chad Burbank, deputy finance director Emery Younger, field director Claire Cummings, and CWG Vice President Meg Reilly. (Photo courtesy of Mark Eves for Maine)