Unionized campaign organizers for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid are demanding an annual salary they say would be equivalent to a $15-an-hour wage, which the candidate has said should be the federal minimum, The Washington Post is reporting.
The campaign field hires said the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders has called for on a federal level. They are invoking the Vermont senator’s own words in trying to make their case to campaign manager Faiz Shakir, the newspaper said attributing the information to internal communications it has obtained.
The Post said it reviewed emails, instant messages and other documents that show the conflict dates back to at least May and is not resolved.
Sanders has made standing up for workers a key theme in his presidential bid and he has touted his campaign as the first presidential effort to unionize its employees.
Sanders has pushed for $15 hourly minimum pay for workers nationally. In June, he addressed a Walmart shareholders’ meeting and said: “Despite the incredible wealth of Walmart owners” the company pays “starvation wages.”
Meanwhile, Shakir offered this comment on the demand by the campaign workers: “We know our campaign offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns, as is shown by the latest fundraising reports.”
The union representing the campaign workers, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, declined to comment on the talks between the two sides.
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with our members and the management of the Bernie 2020 campaign to ensure all workers have dignity and respect in the workplace,” it said.