Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Tuesday unveiled a comprehensive plan aimed at preventing sexism, sexual misconduct, and harassment following accusations from 2016 staffers that the largely male environment fostered inappropriate conduct and mistreatment among employees.
In the plan, entitled the “Campaign Equity Blueprint,” the Sanders campaign introduced clearly defined tiers for compensation to promote and achieve pay equity and transparency; campaign-wide trainings on sexual harassment; and expanded vetting procedures to identify possible bad actors. The plan was first reported by The Guardian.
The campaign also hired Rikimah Glymph as “Chief of People and State Operations”—a role aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of the entire staff.
The plan was devised in consultation with Working IDEAL and Redwood Enterprise—firms that advise on workplace inclusion and diversity— and recommends best practices “for candidates and campaign professionals who are committed to safety, inclusion and equity in political campaign work.”
The document recommends providing “multiple channels for reporting harassment and other workplace misconduct,” clear communication on who should identify and take “early action to check the behavior before it becomes harassing.” The blueprint also goes into detail on the importance of diversity in campaign staffing—broadening the definition to include “important perspectives and contacts in communities.”
Since the launch of his 2020 bid, Sanders and his team have taken demonstrable steps to address concerns raised by previous staffers. After his 2016 team was labeled too male and too white, Sanders’ 2020 team was described as majority female and 40-percent people of color last month, including his campaign manager Faiz Shakir. Women also occupy some of the highest policy, communications, and management roles on the team. And in March, the campaign became the first to unionize.
In January, Sanders met with former staffers to discuss their concerns at which point they began crafting this policy. “To the women in our campaign who were harassed or mistreated I apologize,” Sanders said at the time. “Our standards, our procedures, our safeguards were clearly inadequate.”