After championing the $15 minimum wage in their party platform, Democrats are facing a class-action lawsuit over failure to pay overtime. Field workers in various states are suing the DNC and state Democratic parties on the grounds that their 80-90 hour work weeks in the heat of the campaign qualify them for overtime payment, rather than their agreed upon salary of $2,500-$3,000 per month.
Field workers are plentiful and cheap, so Democratic operatives are naturally arguing that the plaintiffs don’t have a case because the supply of inexpensive labor allowed the party to pay them so little. “The number of young people who want to work on campaigns is infinite,” Democratic consultant Neil Oxman said. “The kids are working on campaigns because they love Michael Nutter, or they love Hillary Clinton, or they love Bernie Sanders. Pretty much everyone who works a campaign knows it’s not the best-paying job in the world.” His statement inadvertently explains why the Democratic “fight for $15” is economically ridiculous.
If a multitude of people are willing to work at what Democrats call a “starvation wage,” then it makes sense for the DNC to pay them just that. (Whether their motives are “love” for Democratic candidates or connections and resume enhancement is another topic.) However, attorney Justin Swidler, who is bringing the case, called that move “obscene.”
According to the suit, the lack of overtime pay violated labor laws, and many on the anti-establishment Left side with the plaintiffs. “There is no question that campaign organizers performing the duties described in the lawsuit are not Exempt from overtime provisions of the FLSA,” said progressive writer Amy Sterling Casil in a lengthy Medium post. She also blasted the DNC over news that its host-committee executives were paid bonuses as high as $310,000, figures that have many on the far left melting down.
All this is happening even as the DNC deals with a lawsuit over their primary process, which they argue was not fraudulent on the grounds that they have no legal obligation to treat candidates fairly. The left wing of the Democratic coalition has a growing list of grievances against the party establishment.
These field workers’ “love” for Hillary Clinton may be cold comfort while they’re waiting for their lawsuit to make its way through the courts, but the executives who just got six-figure bonuses are probably seeing the grieving process get much easier.