Bradley K. Shurman
2019-07-22 06:39:17 UTC
If you missed Eds post on Friday about Team Bernies crash
course in real-world economics, read it now for background. The
campaigns field organizers realized theyve been working an
average of 60 hours a week at a rate of $36,000 per year, which
shakes out to a bit less than $15 per hour the magic number
Bernie himself has demanded be set as the new federal minimum
wage. He cant pay us less than what he wants every American to
be paid, his staffers rightly reasoned. So theyve complained to
management and the complaints leaked into the press and now
theres a hubbub over the countrys most prominent socialist
nickel-and-diming his own labor force and, quite simply, its
the feelgood story of the summer.
It was, of course, also completely foreseeable. Mandate higher
wages and a business will start slashing hours to make ends
meet. Or laying people off, of course thats the inevitable
next chapter in this comedy. Unless, I suppose, Bernie decides
to sell one of his vacation homes and uses the proceeds to keep
a few extra people on the payroll for awhile.
In a statement provided to Newsweek, [campaign manager Faiz]
Shakir said that the campaign has been in discussions about pay
structure changes with the United Food & Commercial Workers
Local 400, the union representing the organizers.
We look forward to continuing those discussions and obviously
are disappointed that some individuals decided to damage the
integrity of these efforts before they were concluded, Shakir
said. As these discussions continue, we are limiting hours so
no employee is receiving less than $15 for any hours worked.
Shakir also told Newsweek that leadership at the campaign
previously offered a pay increase for field organizers, but that
the offer was rejected in a formal vote. According to the Post,
Shakir offered organizer pay to be raised to $42,000 annually
and extend the workweek to six days. The offer was reportedly
rejected because it would have elevated staff to a pay level in
which theyd be responsible to pay more of their own health care
As of now, Bernies field organizers have all of their health
insurance premiums covered by the campaign. By comparison,
campaign supervisors who make more than $36,000 per year have
only 85 percent of their premiums covered. Team Bernie,
champions of Medicare for All, counteroffered the field
organizers demand for higher pay here in part by adding the
condition that disgruntled employees take on some of the
financial burden of their own health insurance.
Heres the icing on the cake, though:
[Sanders] expressed frustration that staffers had taken their
complaints to the media.
It does bother me that people are going outside of the process
and going to the media, he said. That is really not
acceptable. It is really not what labor negotiations are about,
and its improper.
Yeah, since when do workers make their grievances with
management publicly known in order to gain leverage in a labor
This guy and his fans get boners every time a picket line forms
somewhere but when its his own staffers complaining to the
press hes like, Im disappointed they werent more discreet
Spend a few minutes with this very recent analysis from CBO
estimating the macroeconomic effects of a mandatory $15 minimum
wage. Bottom line: 1.3 million jobs gone. Those lucky enough to
keep their jobs will do better, obviously, but there are other
bad knock-on effects:
In CBOs estimation, it would:
Boost workers earnings through higher wages, though some of
those higher earnings would be offset by higher rates of
Reduce business income and raise prices as higher labor costs
were absorbed by business owners and then passed on to
Reduce the nations output slightly through the reduction in
employment and a corresponding decline in the nations stock of
capital (such as buildings, machines, and technologies).
On the basis of those effects and CBOs estimate of the median
effect on employment, the $15 option would reduce total real
(inflation-adjusted) family income in 2025 by $9 billion, or 0.1
Exit question: Will Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez join in solidarity
when Bernie staffers eventually go on strike against him?