Democrat hopeful embraces unionized campaign staff

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

A Democrat running for Congress to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Dave Trott says his campaign is the first in Michigan to agree to bargain collectively with a new union seeking to organize campaign staff.

Dan Haberman of Troy is a Democrat running in the August 2018 primary in the 11th Congressional District

Dan Haberman of Troy said this week his staff has signed up to become dues-paying members of the Campaign Workers Guild, and that he’s signed a letter of support.

“Our campaign has taken the first steps toward unionizing our staff,” Haberman wrote on Facebook.

“This reinforces my commitment to providing all workers with reasonable hours, fair wages and access to quality, affordable health care – and now the right to collectively bargain.”

The campaign said it currently has two non-management staffers, but that number is expected to grow.

The Campaign Workers Guild said Monday it finalized its first-ever union contract with the campaign of Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin Democrat who is challenging Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The guild says its mission is to ensure staffers on campaigns work reasonable hours and receive fair wages in high-pressure environments where many often work up to 80 hours a week with little to no sick time or days off.

Guild spokeswoman Meg Reilly said, so far, Haberman’s campaign is the only one it’s working with in Michigan.

Gummy Drop, not Candy Crush

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, corrected the record to say she was playing the game Gummy Drop – not Candy Crush – on her smartphone during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech last month.

In an interview with Steve Hood’s “Detroit Wants 2 Know” show on WKBD-TV last week, Lawrence noted that – unlike some members of the Congressional Black Caucus – she attended the speech and stayed for the whole address.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, right, plays Candy Crush during the State of the Union address on Tuesday in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I wanted to be there because I’m a member of Congress,” she said. “For the record, I read the whole speech, because they give it to you in advance, and knew what he was going to say. It was a long speech. It was an hour and a half, an hour and 20 minutes, and so I knew and was listening to what he said.”

Lawrence made headlines after a photographer for Getty Image snapped a shot from overhead of Lawrence and two other House members checking their phones during the Jan. 30 speech.

Upton seat not ‘solid’ GOP

Cook Political Report last week shifted its rating for longtime U.S. Rep. Fred Upton’s seat in southwest Michigan toward the Democrats, from “solid” to “likely” Republican.

The ratings change was among those Cook made in 21 House races to reflect that “district-by-district fundraising and polling numbers are downright terrible for Republicans, even in seats previously thought to be safe.”


Cook’s analysis said: “Democrats have a crowded but stronger-than-usual field that includes physician/former YMCA official Matt Longjohn and former Kellogg lobbyist George Franklin, but first they must get past professor and 2014/2016 nominee Paul Clements, a favorite of progressive activists.”

Longjohn said the ratings change “shows that the pundits have caught on to what we know – Fred Upton is vulnerable.”

Upton raised less money in the last quarter of 2017 than did Franklin, who brought in $326,800 to Upton’s $216,500. But Franklin’s total included $100,000 of his own money. Upton closed out the year with over $1 million in the bank.

Six Democrats are vying for the Democratic nomination in the 6th District, including David Benac, Rich Eichholz and Eponine Garrod.

Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke