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'We’re proud to be walking the talk' O'Rourke campaign says as staff forms union

The move marks the first time a statewide campaign in Texas has operated with a union.

AUSTIN, Texas — More than 100 staffers working for Beto O'Rourke's campaign for Texas governor officially formed a union, becoming the first statewide campaign in the state to do so. 

The 129 staffers in organizing, canvassing, press, finance and other positions, ratified a union contract through Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).

"We are proud to join the labor movement and to be the first Texas statewide campaign to unionize," Rocio Dumey, an organizer on the campaign, said in a media release. "Like Beto, we practice what we preach. We want to send a message that every worker in this state should have the right to demand better wages, benefits and working conditions. We want to join them in that fight.”

The Texas AFL-CIO congratulated the newly-formed union on approving a union contract, saying that "staffers laboring long hours in a high-pressure political environment should have a voice in the workplace."

According to OPEIU, the contract includes overtime pay, a five-day work week, paid time off to vote early, severance pay, gas stipends and an additional week's salary if O'Rourke wins the Texas gubernatorial election in November. The contract also includes clauses on safe working conditions, parental leave, protections for immigrant workers and established arbitration and grievance procedures. 

"Under Greg Abbott’s failed leadership, four in 10 working Texans don’t make a living wage. We're running this campaign for a Texas where every worker has a living wage, great benefits, the right to join a union, and dignity on the job," O'Rourke campaign spokesperson Chris Evans said. "We’re proud to be walking the talk, and as governor, Beto will fight to raise the state’s minimum wage for the first time in more than 13 years, make Texas a Right to Organize state, and ensure our economy finally works for all Texans."

Democrat O'Rourke will face incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott in the upcoming November election. According to a recent University of Houston poll, the race is tightening as Abbott holds a five-point lead over his challenger. 

The Texas gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 8 with early voting starting on Oct. 24 and ending on Nov. 4.

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