California Rep. Eric Swalwell announced today that his presidential campaign staff have formed a union, making them the second unit of 2020 campaign staffers behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ camp to do so.
Swalwell formally announced his campaign, which had been rumored for months, on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday night. It took his staff less than two days (presumably they were working on it before the announcement) to unionize, which, to his credit, he recognized immediately, according to the Hill.
This isn’t entirely surprising—despite the fact that almost no one has heard of him, Swalwell’s record on labor, per the Hill, is actually quite good. He has a 98 percent lifetime score for “voting with working people” by the AFL-CIO’s standards.
It’s also quite likely that Swalwell’s run is at least in part intended to raise his national profile to possibly run for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat when she eventually retires, or make a bid for VP or a Cabinet seat, although he insists he’s in the race for real: “We’re not trying to sell a book or get a leadership position anywhere else,” he told told the San Francisco Chronicle. “If I’m going to run, it’s going to be because we think we can win and, more important, make a difference.”
His central issue at the moment appears to be gun control. Swalwell has advocated for an outright assault weapons ban and aggressive buyback measures to get semi-automatic military-style weapons off the streets. Still, it’s good to see his staff using their (marginal, to be fair) place in the national conversation to support organized labor among political workers. That moment is nothing if not a long, long time coming.