CYDI Calls on Campaigns to Treat Workers with Dignity by Paying All Staff

June 20, 2019

Des Moines, IA, June 20, 2019 – The College and Young Democrats of Iowa (CYDI) urge all presidential campaigns to treat their field staff, fellows and interns equitably. Field staff are an integral part of any campaign, yet again, as in past cycles, some 2020 campaigns are not paying all field staff positions. This needs to end. 

“You should not have to come from generational wealth to work for a candidate and a cause you believe in,” said Megan Card, Political Director of CYDI. “We have been speaking with interns and other campaign staff early on about their experience. What we’ve found is that while some candidates tout paid field programs, some members of staff - particularly fellows - are being overlooked and unpaid. Enough with exploiting young Democrats and denying access to opportunities for others. If you’re doing the work, you deserve to be paid.”

CYDI recommends all campaigns implement the following:

  • Only offer paid fellowships, paid internships and a more accessible, transparent route into paid campaign work
  • Recognize campaign worker unions and come to the table to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement to  improve wages, benefits such as health care, a clear reimbursement policy and terms and conditions of employment

Too often, campaign staffers are expected to sacrifice themselves for the cause. But this is not a sustainable model for employment. As a state and as a Party, we are losing out on talent, experience and community connection by ignoring unfair labor practices and unpaid positions. Fellows and interns put in the hard work to meet their metric goals, and the work they do every day in our communities mobilize support and drive voter turnout. They deserve to be paid for the hours they dedicate to campaigns. 

The path to enforcing better working conditions for field staff needs to start by paying fair wages. As Democrats, we believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot – however, what message are we sending if our Party’s candidates are not paying all their staff?

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