OUR HISTORY, MISSION, AND VISION
The Political Workers Guild of Colorado (PWG) is an open-model minority union that represents legislative aides, campaign workers, and political organizers who want to fight for dignity in our workplaces. We want to ensure that social and economic justice is reflected in the institutions, campaigns, and organizations we staff.
The unification of workers across electoral and legislative politics is the culmination of years of local organizing. Many political workers often shift between roles inside government and on campaigns, while others remain in a single role. Nevertheless, these workers in Colorado are linked by a shared commitment to fighting for change through electoral politics and policy-making.
PWG is not tied to a specific political party; we believe that as “political workers,” we are bound by our shared goal— to empower workers and voters through our political institutions.
We are also united by our dedication to the policies and values that our state and local governments must codify in order to properly empower all Coloradans and democratize both political and economic decision-making.
In the Capitol, aides barely earn livable wages, even during the legislative session, receive few benefits beyond the minimum required by law for all employers to provide, and face high housing costs because they must live in the Denver metro area for their work. The terms of their compensation and employment are determined through a legislative process that they cannot participate in without risking termination. Aides also face a severe lack of clarity over their employment status within the state, making it impossible to even know where to bring various concerns; the channels they do have access to are rarely productive for resolving conflicts. Furthermore, their requisite part-time status during the legislative interim makes it nearly impossible to stay in the job more than the six months of a session. This produces turnover that impedes the work legislators can accomplish for their constituents, and decreases institutional knowledge–shifting power from legislators and their offices to lobbyists and corporate interests.
Professional organizers face exhausting workloads and long hours without overtime or benefits. When they are managing extreme pressure during peak campaign hours, which can run 18 hours a day, every day, they do not have the resources or coverage to receive mental health services or any other healthcare. Like the aide position, the lack of benefits also privileges applicants who can rely on outside support to cover living expenses. Campaigns are also temporary by nature, and many organizers struggle with living expenses as they move from one job to the next. As a result, organizers’ lives are incredibly unstable, even though our entire governmental system relies on their full-time work. The volatile nature of the profession also results in turnover and talent loss as people leave the profession just to survive. While organizers do not have the statutory limitations on their ability to self-advocate that aides do, there is no existing infrastructure for collective action to support organizers and improve working conditions across the profession.
We can rectify these wrongs and promote our values by unifying political workers through our open union.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
We are workers across politics and government who believe in social and economic justice. We will hold our employers accountable and use our unique positions to fight, in solidarity with all workers, for a just and equitable Colorado.
Those in positions of power in and around government cannot say they are committed to fighting for social and economic justice if they are not extending the benefit of these values to their own staff.
Our union brings together progressive legislative aides, campaign workers, and organizers to ensure that our values are reflected in our workplaces.
The Political Workers Guild of Colorado has been a three year project that finally came to fruition on March 9th, 2021.
In January 2019, a formalized campaign began to unionize the legislative aide corps in the Colorado General Assembly.
In 2020, organizers came close to fully realizing this vision when the majority of legislative aides in the Colorado House and Senate signed a petition to unionize. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a number of bureaucratic obstacles, this push failed to succeed.
From December 2020 - March 2021, organizers attempted to unionize the legislative aide corps - this time, along with political organizers across Colorado - and were finally successful.