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Markey’s Senate reelection campaign unionizes

Senator Edward J. Markey.
Senator Edward J. Markey.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Campaign staff working to reelect Senator Edward J. Markey have opted to join a union, making Markey’s operation the first statewide campaign in Massachusetts to be represented by a union, the campaign announced.

The group of 27 campaign workers — including regional organizing directors, field organizers, and communication assistants, among others — unanimously agreed to a contract with Teamsters Local 122. Benefits include health care for employees and family that will be 100 percent covered by the campaign, as well as a schedule that ensures “substantial” paid time off for workers each week.

“The Markey for Senate campaign is worker-powered, and our campaign’s values are union values,” Markey said in a statement. “This agreement reflects our continued commitment to live those values everyday.”

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The announcement marks the latest development in the trend of unionization among campaign workers. The staffs of numerous Democratic presidential campaigns unionized during the 2020 primary season, including that of Markey’s Senate colleague, Elizabeth Warren. Before that, close to two dozen Democratic campaigns unionized during the 2018 midterms, along with multiple state parties, according to Politico.

"People are looking at the benefits of unionizing in all different careers. It’s job security, it’s health benefits,” as well as some sort of security for retirement, said Steve Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, which has not endorsed in the primary matchup between Markey and Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, also seen as a strong ally for organized labor.

“And you have a voice on the job,” Tolman continued. “So I think it’s progressive, I think it’s a telltale sign that people are paying attention to the people who are organizing and the people who are not.”

Markey campaign workers began talks with Local 122 in December, and by January 80 percent of the new unit had signed union cards, according to a statement by Jaymie Cobb, a Markey regional organizing director and a member of the bargaining committee.

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Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.