Socialist Bernie Sanders to CUT Campaign Staffers' Hours to Meet $15 Minimum Wage
Democratic 2020 hopeful mocked, called hypocrite over approach to economics
Democratic 2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been mercilessly mocked and accused of hypocrisy after the socialist presidential candidate cut his campaign staffers' hours so he could pay them the $15 minimum wage he's campaigning for.
Last week, it was reported that staff on Bernie's campaign team were putting in 60 hours a week and earning $13 per hour.
Staffers filed an official complaint, with some even fleeing altogether, over the "poverty wages" they were receiving while working for Sanders.
The unionized workers asked campaign manager Faiz Shakir to boost their salaries to meet the level of the pay the senator has advocated for, according to The Washington Post.
Following the reports, Sanders told The Des Moines Register that his campaign is now slashing the number of hours staffers work to 42 or 43 each week in order to make their salaries meet the equivalent of $15 an hour.
The move has been met with widespread ridicule online, however, with columnist Stephen Miller commenting: "For the first time in his life, socialist Bernie Sanders practices economics and buddy the results are hilarious.
"Why won't millionaire Bernie Sanders, who owns 3 homes, instead of cutting hours, pay his staff a living wage? People are starving," he added.
Former Fox News host and Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend Kimberley Guilfoyle tweeted: "The rules of economics exist, even within the campaign of a socialist!"
Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted: "So does this fall under the category of hypocrisy, irony, or poetic justice? All three?
"Can't make this stuff up."
And Ben Shapiro wrote: "In which Bernie Sanders learns about economics."
According to the Daily Mail, House Democrats on Thursday passed legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by October 2025, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to bring it up in his chamber, sending the fight to the campaign trail.
The passage was a big win for workers and labor groups, even as it remained unlikely the bill would pass a Republican-controlled Senate.
But in a draft letter going to Shakir, the workers say: "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."
Some staff reached out to Shakir personally with one writing him: "I am struggling financially to do my job, and in my state, we've already had 4 people quit in the past 4 weeks because of financial struggles."
Sanders has pushed for a $15 minimum wage both on the campaign trail and in the Senate, where he has sponsored legislation on the issue.
He told The Des Moines Register: "I'm very proud to be the first presidential candidate to recognize a union and negotiate a union contract.
"And that contract was ratified by the employees of the campaign, and it not only provides pay of at least $15 an hour, it also provides, I think, the best health care benefits that any employer can provide for our field organizers.
"It does bother me that people are going outside of the process and going to the media.
"That is really not acceptable.
"It is really not what labor negotiations are about, and it's improper.
"We are disappointed that some individuals have decided to damage the integrity of these efforts.
"We are involved in negotiations.
"And some are individuals that have decided to damage the integrity of that process before they were concluded."
Bernie Sanders says his campaign will limit the hours staffers work so they are paid the equivalent of $15 an hour. “I’m very proud to be the first presidential candidate to recognize a union and negotiate a union contract,” he told me. https://t.co/IBJdMiIIIu— Brianne Pfannenstiel (@brianneDMR) July 19, 2019
In which Bernie Sanders learns about economics. https://t.co/J9CkUZeI9C— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 21, 2019
So does this fall under the category of hypocrisy, irony, or poetic justice?— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) July 20, 2019
Can’t make this stuff up.https://t.co/QWI344GYCp
For the first time in his life, socialist Bernie Sanders practices economics and buddy the results are hilarious.— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 21, 2019
Sanders has also touted his support for workers' rights.
In May, he supported striking McDonald's workers who were demanding to be paid $15 per hour.
The senator from Vermont has also supported striking teachers and striking workers at Amazon and Disney.
"If Amazon can raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour there is no reason that McDonald's, a company that took in $1.4 billion in profit and paid its CEO $22 million, can't pay its workers a living wage," Sanders said in a statement in May.
He has also used his campaign's massive email list to rally support for striking workers - an unusual move for a presidential candidate.
His campaign was the first of the 2020 presidential candidates to unionize its staff - a fact he touted heavily.
"We cannot just support unions with words, we must back it up with actions," he tweeted in March when his campaign unionized.
"On this campaign and when we are in the White House, we are going make it easier for people to join unions, not harder."
In May, Shakir recommended raising the pay for field organizers to $42,000 and changing the workweek specifications.
He pushed for a swift union vote so he could make budget decisions on how many field organizers to hire.
The union rejected his offer because it would have kicked the field staff up to a pay level where they would have to pay more of their own health-care costs.
Shakir said he was disappointed in the union position.
"I have no idea what debates and conversations were had, but candidly, it was a disappointing vote from my perspective," Shakir wrote in an email to campaign staff.