DNC Workers Sue Party Over 'Starvation' Wages, No Overtime
Throughout the 2016 presidential election, Democrats attacked the current federal minimum wage as a "starvation wage," but according to a new lawsuit, they paid their own workers less than the amount currently mandated by law.
"I think everyone's reaction is the same. It's obscene," Justin Swidler, a Philadelphia attorney representing between 40 and 50 "field organizers" around the country, told CBS Philly. "These workers were out there in a campaign that was promising $15 an hour minimum wage and expanding the overtime rights of workers."
Swidler is suing the Democratic National Committee, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and five more state party organizations on behalf of the staffers, whom he claims were denied overtime compensation. The lawyer said the lawsuit seeks "fair pay for fair work," thus "holding the Democratic Party to the very ideals that it embraces."
The 2016 Democratic Party platform advocated a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, nearly an $8 increase from the current minimum, and championed an Obama-era regulation forcing employers to pay a higher rate to employees for working more than 40 hours.
According to Swidler, some of the Democrat staffers worked between 80 and 90 hours per week, but received only $3,000 per month for their work. "They got paid a flat salary of $3,000 a month, which isn't even minimum wage for some of the hours that they were working," the lawyer said.
Again, the Democratic platform called the current federal minimum wage ($7.25-per-hour) a "starvation wage," adding that "no one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty." This despite the fact that in areas where the minimum wage was hiked, restaurants hire fewer workers.
Like the restaurants that suffer when wages are artificially increased, the Democratic Party allegedly does not have enough money to pay the higher wages their platform demanded. "One of the arguments that the Democrats are making is that they just don't have the money to pay overtime to their workers," the lawyer explained.
Those who have worked on political campaigns are familiar with the long hours and low wages involved in such work, and it is not unheard of for campaign staff to be compensated more in connections and the promise of a future job, should their candidate succeed in the election. In January, former Obama staffers complained that "there are no jobs." This is a common complaint among political staff following an election defeat.
But for a party which calls for a federal mandate almost doubling the minimum wage to pay its workers less than the current "starvation" wage is disgusting hypocrisy. If a $15 minimum wage is to be forced upon private sector employers, it seems reasonable to demand that the party pushing such a regulation should abide by its own rules.
As usual, however, the Democrats are the party of "do as I say, not as I do." They branded Republicans "the party of no" under President Barack Obama, and now they oppose tooth and nail every sneeze coming from the nose of President Donald Trump.