In closing hours, NC Democrats evade their own union

Interns at the N.C. Democratic Party headquarters in Raleigh were seen recently carrying cases of soft drinks into the building. (CJ spoof photo)

Listen to this story (5 minutes)

  • “The Democratic Party believes that when workers are strong, America is strong. Democrats will make it easier for workers, public and private, to exercise their right to organize and join unions.” – Democratic Party Platform

The North Carolina Democratic Party is not “asking for the union label” but seeking to avoid its own unionized workers in the final hours of the 2022 campaign, in direct conflict with the state party’s own stated principles.

The state Democratic Party appears to be involved in a shell game of running campaign funds through local county party accounts.

In late October, the North Carolina Democratic Party Field Staff Union announced:

Weeks ago, our unit proposed a new contract with NCDP addressing pay, safety, and healthcare concerns. NCDP would not agree to meet for negotiations until right before the election to run out the clock on agreeing to a fair contract.

The NCDP Field team union made their demands public on October 23. They state in their complaint filed weeks ago their frustration with field workers only making $20-$25 an hour and coordinated organizers only making $15. 

The ongoing dispute was covered by Townhall, as the final get out the vote operations were in full force.

The unionized employees of the North Carolina Democratic Party have been lobbying Democratic voters and donors to stand up and fight for them against state Democratic Party management, and State Chair Bobby Richardson.

On October 23, 2022 the union said in a statement:

NCDP wants to cut benefits and pay for the organizers who make the campaign possible. NCDP’s proposed contract eliminates severance pay, eliminates an entire month of healthcare coverage, eliminates the technology stipend, and includes no raise.  We will not accept this dramatic cut in our compensation, and we will not accept a contract without fair pay.

In the past, the North Carolina Democratic Party has bragged about being one of the few state Democratic parties that recognized a get out the vote field workers union.

However in July of this year, CJ reported that the NC Democratic Party refused to voluntarily recognize its union for the party’s staffers. The staff union stated it was “disappointed NCDP hasn’t voluntarily recognized our union & bargaining unit after giving notice of our union over 3 weeks ago.”

In examining recent campaign finance reports, CJ noticed several in-kind contributions from the Orange County Democratic party to key Democratic candidates in toss-up elections from outside Orange county, such as Rep. Ricky Hurtado, D-Pitt, Rep. Terrance Everitt, D-Wake, and Democratic State House candidate Diamond Staton-Williams of Mecklenburg.

Volunteer or state Democratic party canvassing efforts are not required to be reported as in-kind contributions. However the Orange County Democrats are paying an outside non-unionized canvassing firm called GBI Strategies, which seems to have been brought on just after the unions list of demands were presented. This seems to indicate the North Carolina State Democratic party or other top Democrats is pushing key donors to give to the Orange County Democratic party as the end around for the state Democratic parties issue with their union. 

Let me be clear. There is nothing illegal about this arrangement. The Democratic party is in a difficult situation in this election and is looking to stretch every Get Out The Vote Dollar.

Based on hiring information on Indeed, the non-union field contractor usually pays about $824 per week or $15 per hour. Current listings for other states indicate $850 a week, which probably includes weekends. (assuming 50-60 hours a week from my experience). This is very similar to what we normally see with union states and the hiring of “scabs” to come in during strikes.

Given the timing and the importance of the election, was this the Democratic Party solution to needing more grassroots GOTV workers, but not wanting to pay the higher union wage?