In a move not totally unexpected, the Democratic National Committee opted to unionize after a majority of employees voted in favor of the move.
The vote on Tuesday was made official as two-thirds of the eligible DNC staff signed cards to join with Service Employees International Union Local 500 in an effort that was seen as “one of the largest yet to take place within Democratic politics,” according to The Hill.
“We are incredibly excited to join SEIU Local 500 to live our Democratic values at our workplace,” Alison Goh, DNC staffer and union leader, 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,” Goh added.
We did it! As of this morning, @DNC staff is officially union. An independent count by a neutral observer has confirmed that we won with an overwhelming majority of DNC staff signing cards in favor of joining @SEIULocal500. ✊🏽 #unionyes #1u pic.twitter.com/GEkNytNBvz
— DNC Staff Union (@dncstaffunion) January 4, 2022
Republicans were quick to offer mocking skepticism.
“We applaud the DNC for rendering themselves even more useless,” Republican National Committee chief of staff Richard Walters said. “Perhaps they’ll be offering tenure next.”
The unionization effort has reportedly been in the works since 2018, according to Business Insider which cited a DNC union spokesperson.
While the move is consistent with contemporary Democrats’ “top down” approach, it defies the ideology of former Democrat President, Harry S. Truman. Truman had vehemently opposed the unionization of federal employees, predicting that federal unions would ultimately become political action committees. Today’s SEIU has proven him prophetic. They make up a major Democrat constituency. As Truman had noted, “politicians will ultimately pander to their interests.”
That the DNC has adopted this measure confirms their desire to maintain tighter control of their constituents. Alarmed by the emergence of Bernie Sanders as a front runner in both 2016 and 2020, and the lingering memory of George McGovern’s disastrous 1972 landslide loss, the party is clearly tightening the leash. This same “top down” approach can be seen in the party’s current attempt to nationalize elections.
I’m incredibly proud of our staff at @TheDemocrats for unionizing with @SEIULocal500!
We are the party of unions, and this is a big step forward that allows us to live our shared values and will make the DNC the absolute best it can be for our current and future staff.
— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) January 4, 2022
This most recent move is a far cry from Democrats’ call for a more literal interpretation of the 10th Amendment during the 1960s. Historians recount the battle cry of Democrats Lester Maddox and George Wallace when advocating public school segregation. Today’s Democratic Party represents minimal deviation from an adopted narrative that promotes unity through a large, Washington, D.C.-based monolith. Unionization should seal the deal.
The move is seen by Democrats as an answer to “improve the lives of current and future staff at DNC,” Goh stated.
Improvement could essentially translate to “relieving them of tedious, often controversial decisions” that would be more difficult if made at the regional level. Conversely, unionization will likely result in a deferment to the national party agenda. It should effectively consolidate power, ironically contradicting Democrats’ traditional “rule by the many” to “rule by the powerful few.”
“We’re really excited about the fact that not only are we going to be able to set an example for staff across the ecosystem, but that we can really lead with our values and stand up for our fellow coworkers,” said Lucas Acosta, a union spokesperson and senior spokesperson for the DNC.
DNC Executive Director Sam Cornale added that the committee is “proud to voluntarily recognize SEIU Local 500 after a majority of DNC employees expressed their desire for union representation.”
This is generally consistent with traditional bureaucratic reluctance to provide explanations for policy decisions.
Skeptics see this move as DNC’s effort to further standardize the party, maybe the most significant organizing effort in politics to this day. It should set the tone for political campaigns, private firms and other party workplaces to follow suit and will be key in consolidating the party narrative.
What can possibly go wrong https://t.co/IFqS1xKfNg
— jim manley (@jamespmanley) January 4, 2022
Party unionization predictably creates the perfect landscape for regional visibility without accountability. Most of today’s Democrat agenda emphasizes the need for a big, Washington D.C.-oriented federal government, with less latitude granted to the states. The surface emphasis is based upon the “need to meet with employees where they are,” which carries a positive ring. Proponents will accentuate their ability to fill a void that is becoming increasingly unpopular.
Naysayers contend that it is a smokescreen for the real objective: Exerting more control on party members to limit dissenting opinions before they gain traction. This is indeed a far cry from the former Democrat self-label of “the party of diversity.”
The “big tent” has essentially collapsed.
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