If Howard Dean, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has any sense at all, he will spend as long as it takes to fix this mess. Not only should he put America’s biggest labor and union supporter, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) on his speed dial, but he should park his butt on their front porch until they agree to see him. Because without their financial support and the votes of the ten million union members in America, Dean can forget about taking back the White House next year.
See, for the last four years, a company Chairman Dean hired to fundraise and do campaign work for the Democratic Party have been breaking labor laws right under his nose. The facts about this story have been rumored over the Internet for years, but late last week, the story officially broke in the Daily Journal, a law publication based in Los Angeles. In the article, Gary Scott reported that Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. (GCI), the contracted company employed by the DNC since 2003, is being sued by four former employees because of labor law violations. The workers claim they were forced to work 10-15 hours per day, six to seven days a week, at a salary of $24,000 per year. The workers allege they received no overtime pay and often had to pay for work related expenses out of pocket. Furthermore, breaks were limited, and lunch and dinner hours were frequently cut short or removed completely. Not only are these hours, wages, and conditions illegal in many states across America, they are, according to the plaintiff’s attorney Robert Nelson, “like something out of Upton Sinclair’s famous labor novel from 1906, The Jungle.”