Perhaps it’s time for Bernie Sanders to put his money where his mouth is and pay his staffers a “living wage”—and the overtime they should be entitled to.
For all is rhetoric, it may turn out that socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders is just another hypocritical politician who takes money from big corporations, invests in Wall Street and, reportedly, pays his workers “poverty wages” (and NO overtime)—despite the fact that they’re unionized.
Back in March, to show his “pro-union” bonafides, Bernie Sanders made headlines when he encouraged his staffers to unionize with the United Food & Commercial Workers, turning his campaign into the first-ever unionized presidential campaign.
However, as often happens when activists who campaign to dictate standards upon others actually have to live under those standards, things do not always go as planned.
On Thursday, the same day that the House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour—which Sanders has long advocated for—the Washington Post ran an article that shed some light on a wage dispute that is currently going on within his campaign.
Apparently, Sanders’ campaign workers are lashing out at campaign management regarding the low wages that they are receiving.
“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,” one field organizer reportedly wrote on a message board to Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir.
Another employee wrote his co-workers “shouldn’t have to get payday loans to sustain themselves.”
Then, there was this interesting statement:
The draft letter estimated that field organizers were working 60 hours per week at minimum, dropping their average hourly pay to less than $13. [Emphasis added.]
As field organizers are paid an annual salary of $36,000 under their new union contract, things would be fine—if they are only working 40 hours per week.
However, it appears they are not.
If they are truly working 60 hours per week (or 3,000 hours per year), on a salary of $36,000, they are only making $12 per hour, instead of the $17.30 they should be making on a standard 40-hour week, 2,080-hours per work year.
Obviously, $12 per hour is far less than the $15 Bernie Sanders claims to support.
However, it’s worse than that.
Based on the article, it also appears that Sanders is not paying overtime.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, employees who are not exempted from the law are entitled to time and one half pay for every hour worked after 40 hours in a given workweek.[Some states (and, more importantly, some union contracts) actually mandate time and one half after eight hours.]
If the Sanders campaign workers are not exempt from the FLSA and are entitled to overtime, they should be making nearly $26 per hour for every hour worked over 40.
Following the 2016 election, the DNC was sued by former field organizers who alleged that the “the state party defendants conspired with one another and with Defendant DNC to unlawfully designate Plaintiffs, and those similarly situated, as exempt employees under the FLSA and applicable state wage statutes, thereby denying Plaintiffs full and appropriate compensation.”
Unfortunately for the DNC’s field organizers, the suit was dismissed in 2018.
In dismissing the overtime suit, according to this summary, “the Court relied on an often-overlooked defense to the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) – namely, that the FLSA only covers employees engaged in interstate commerce as opposed to employees engaged in purely local activities. [Emphasis added.]”
That case involved multiple state parties (as well as the DNC)–and not a singular candidate.
In the case of Bernie Sanders, however, a court could determine his campaign to be a singular employer…and, if so, it is definitelyoperating across state lines (interstate commerce).
It is also possible that the new union contract may aid a court in establishing that employees are not exempted from the FLSA. However, neither the campaign, nor the UFCW has released the contract to the public.
Perhaps it’s time for Bernie Sanders to, quite literally, put his money where his mouth is.
by Brent Scher • Washington Free Beacon
The reelection campaign for Bernie Sanders spent more than $400,000 to travel on private jets during the midterm elections, Federal Election Commission filings show.
The Washington Free Beacon first reported on Sanders’s use of private jets in 2017 after he disclosed a payment of just under $40,000 to Apollo Jets, a New York-based company “dedicated to providing a luxury flight experience.” The campaign stepped up its use of private planes in the campaign’s final weeks, spending $297,685 with Apollo Jets for a nine-state tour at the beginning of October.
The campaign’s latest filing, submitted to the FEC late last week, shows an additional $6,772.50 payment to Apollo Jets on October 30, bringing Sanders’s total spending on private air travel to $403,024 for the midterm cycle.
Sanders’s extensive use of private jets on the campaign flies in the face of his rhetoric on climate change, which he views as the “single greatest threat facing our planet.” The transportation industry is viewed by many, including Sanders, as a major environmental culprit, given the volume of emissions produced by aviation. Continue reading
By Joe Schoffstall • Washington Free Beacon
The campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) spent nearly $40,000 on luxury private jet travel during the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Sanders, who has said global warming is causing “devastating problems” and is in favor of a carbon tax, made the payments for the posh private travel arrangements from his Senate campaign committee, Friends of Bernie Sanders, to Apollo Jets, a New York-based private charter company that is “dedicated to providing a luxury flight experience based on superior safety and exceptional customer care,” its website states.
The campaign spent $37,567.53 to rent the private charters during the third quarter, which runs from the beginning of July to the end of September. Continue reading
By Jim Geraghty • National Review
I’m headed up to New York City today, appearing on CNN to discuss Senator Bernie Sanders’ latest proposal for “single-payer” health care and on CNN International to discuss – well, something, possibly the Sanders proposal, perhaps something else.
The coverage of health care rarely suggests that public support for single payer is a mile wide but an inch deep. But this Kaiser poll from July is usefully illustrative. It found that a majority (55 percent) supports “single-payer,” but when respondents hear the argument that it would give the government “too much control,” then 61 percent oppose it.
When you mention the tax increases, 60 percent oppose single-payer. This concept does not enjoy ironclad support from the masses. Continue reading
by Bill McMorris • Washington Free Beacon
Democratic primary runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders denied that the Department of Veterans Affairs provided bad healthcare during a Navy SEAL’s confirmation hearing.
Sen. Sanders (I., Vt.) questioned President-elect Donald Trump’s interior secretary nominee Ryan Zinke about his views on the state of Native American healthcare and well being on Tuesday. Zinke, a Navy commander and the first Navy SEAL to serve in the House of Representatives, agreed that the federal government should respect Native American sovereignty and work to ensure that treaties and existing law is followed before moving on to Sanders’ question about the poor healthcare outcomes in Native American-controlled land.
“As bad as the VA is,” Zinke began. Continue reading
by Peter Roff • Independent Journal Opinion
Throughout his career, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders has championed postal reform. He wants to save the United States Postal Service and its hundreds of thousands of public employee union jobs, by broadening the scope of its activities.
It’s an interesting idea, which is probably why the American Postal Workers Union was an early presidential endorser, and a bad one. Allowing the USPS to transact non-bank financial services opens the door to competition in areas private business has shown it can handle quite competently, thank you very much.
It’s inevitable a full range of banking services would eventually follow, free of the encumbrance of the onerous Dodd-Frank requirements and the overly invasive Consumer Financial Protection Board the massive new banking law spawned. The idea is already out there. More than one policy wonk has hit on it as to provide services to what folks have taken to calling the under-banked. Continue reading