Bernie Sanders campaign drowns in irony, says it will cut hours to pay staffers $15 minimum wage

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

Once a bum, always a bum?

Lifelong bum turned U.S. senator turned 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been preaching nonstop for years about how every working American deserves to earn at least $15 per hour. Yet according to a report published last week, he hasn’t been paying his own staffers $15/hour.

The report specifically found that junior-level staffers were earning a $36,000 salary for a 40-hour work. The problem was that most staffers were working upwards of 60+ hours per week, meaning their promised $15/hour wages were actually more like $11 to $13/hour wages.

In response to the backlash that spawned after this report went viral, Sanders finally took action last Friday by announcing that he’d be cutting his staffers’ hours.

“As these discussions continue, we are limiting hours so no employee is receiving less than $15 for any hours worked,” his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement to Newsweek.

The “discussions” he referenced were ongoing negotiations between the staffers’ union and Sanders’ management team.

“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 added.

This was a sentiment also expressed by Sanders.

“It does bother me that people are going outside of the process and going to the media,” he’d reportedly said. “That is really not acceptable. It is really not what labor negotiations are about, and it’s improper.”

It was a very telling statement, and here’s why: According to The Washington Post, which broke the original report Thursday, the internal conflict over wages “dates back to at least May.”

That means it took two whole months for the situation to be resolved. More importantly, it wasn’t resolved until the media got involved. And wouldn’t you know it, Sanders and his campaign manager resent the fact that staff members decided to squeal to the media. Hmm.

Dovetailing back to the “deal” reached by Sanders and his team, it attracted widespread mockery after it was reported Friday afternoon.


Was the mockery justified? Yes and no.

On one hand, Sanders’ last-minute decision showcased both his economic ignorance and his hypocrisy. Were his vision of a $15/hour minimum wage one day signed into law, millions of businesses across the nation would be forced to follow suit and cut their own employees’ hours.

But on the other hand, because the senator’s staffers are salaried workers, they’re going to wind up making the same amount of money for less work. That’s a net positive for them.

However, things don’t always work so smoothly in the private sector. Take for instance a laundromat that pays its front-desk cashier to work 40 hours a week at $10 per hour. That’s $400 per week, and because it’s a full 40 hours, the cashier also benefits from paid healthcare, a 401(k), etc.

Now suppose Sanders’ plan goes into action and the laundromat owner must now pay the cashier $15/hour. At that rate, the cashier’s 40-hour work week would suddenly cost the owner $600 total, or $200 more per week. Chances are that the business owner would try to recoup these loses by cutting the cashier’s hours down to 26 to 27 (which would bring the cashier’s earnings to about $400/week). But guess what else would happen. The cashier would then lose his or her benefits.

This is the reality of Sanders’ Utopian vision, but alas, he appears to be too dense to realize it.


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Vivek Saxena


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