In one of the most wonderful and hilarious developments in recent political memory, socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has come under fire from his own campaign workers for failing guarantee them a $15-per-hour minimum wage, a policy he's demanded be imposed on all employers by the federal government. This message-crushing feud boiled over into the public eye last week, courtesy of a Washington Post article:
SCOOP: For years, Bernie Sanders has traveled the country advocating for a $15 per hour minimum wage. His campaign organizers say they aren’t making that much, and they're using his words to protest for higher wages. Via @WaPoSean https://t.co/ZQgnT7jYrx— Matea Gold (@mateagold) July 19, 2019
Unionized campaign organizers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential effort are battling with its management, arguing that the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders espouses in his rhetoric, according to internal communications. Campaign field hires have demanded an annual salary they say would be equivalent to a $15-an-hour wage, which Sanders for years has said should be the federal minimum. The organizers and other employees supporting them have invoked the senator’s words and principles in making their case to campaign manager Faiz Shakir, the documents reviewed by The Washington Post show.
A draft letter union members earlier had prepared to send Shakir as soon as this week said that the field organizers “cannot be expected to build the largest grassroots organizing program in American history while making poverty wages. Given our campaign’s commitment to fighting for a living wage of at least $15.00 an hour, we believe it is only fair that the campaign would carry through this commitment to its own field team.”...The draft letter estimated that field organizers were working 60 hours per week at minimum, dropping their average hourly pay to less than $13. It said that “many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team’s productivity and morale. Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result.”
That this even became a public issue is "brand-pulverizing" and "malpractice," according to one left-leaning political commentator:
Political malpractice. ?@SenSanders? is underpaying his employees and chastising them for going public— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) July 20, 2019
?He sounds like every boss you’ve ever hated, an old and out-of-touch CEO. Not just off-brand but brand-pulverizing.
He’s toast https://t.co/fzrFIt6lDu
Desperate to push this mess out of the headlines, the Sanders campaign has agreed to adhere to their candidate's own policy, at least on paper. But the laws of basic economics have a pesky way of intervening. Always. Surprise, surprise:
Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign will limit working hours for organizers to guarantee $15 minimum wagehttps://t.co/EJHKmTDUMK— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 21, 2019
A mid a pay war within his own 2020 presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders will limit the amount of time his organizers can work to guarantee that no one is making less than $15 per hour — a wage the senator has demanded should be the federal minimum...Shakir also told Newsweek that leadership at the campaign previously offered a pay increase for field organizers, but that the offer was rejected in a formal vote. According to the Post, Shakir offered organizer pay to be raised to $42,000 annually and extend the workweek to six days. The offer was reportedly rejected because it would have elevated staff to a pay level in which they'd be responsible to pay more of their own health care costs.
So many lessons to be learned here, none of which Bernie Sanders has ever internalized, evidently. Aside from their hours being shaved back in order to accommodate "minimum wage" demands -- which always have unpleasant and unintended consequences for many of the people they are ostensibly designed to help -- there's even worse news for these true Bernie believers: Given the trajectory of his campaign, they'll all be completely out of work prior to the nominating convention next summer. Perhaps a handful of them may seize on this deeply ironic moment to reconsider how the ideas they espouse actually operate in the real world. I'll leave you with the delightful spectacle of Bernie grousing over his own employees holding him publicly accountable to the standards he's droned on and on about about for years -- as well as a reminder of the nonpartisan CBO's projections about what could occur under a national $15 minimum wage law:
[The Vermont Senator] expressed frustration that staffers had taken their complaints to the media. “It does bother me that people are going outside of the process and going to the media,” he said. “That is really not acceptable. It is really not what labor negotiations are about, and it’s improper.”
House Dems’ radical $15 minimum wage “can bring maximum damage” to workers and families, resulting in nearly 4 million lost jobs and a $9 billion decrease in real household income. https://t.co/0t9a9nYVMp— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) July 18, 2019
UPDATE - Is this a new Squad demand? Also, why not $50, or even $100?