In October of last year, Sen. Bernie Sanders led a campaign of pressure against Amazon, demanding that they raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. It wasn’t long before Jeff Bezos, recognizing the opportunity to garner some good publicity for his gigantic online retailer, succumbed to the pressure and gave a raise to more than 250,000 Amazon employees.
The move was praised by Sanders on Twitter: “What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world. I urge corporate leaders around the country to follow Mr. Bezos’ lead.”
The Vermont socialist has called on other corporations, like Walmart and McDonalds, to follow Amazon’s lead, but they haven’t taken him up on that offer quite yet.
And so it is that Sanders is making the Fight for 15 a major component of his 2020 platform. But while he’s promising that his administration with fight to bring the federal minimum wage up to that lofty figure, many of his supporters and organizers are wondering: Why won’t he follow his own advice?
From the Washington Post:
Unionized campaign organizers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential effort are battling with its management, arguing that the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders espouses in his rhetoric, according to internal communications.
Campaign field hires have demanded an annual salary they say would be equivalent to a $15-an-hour wage, which Sanders for years has said should be the federal minimum. The organizers and other employees supporting them have invoked the senator’s words and principles in making their case to campaign manager Faiz Shakir, the documents reviewed by The Washington Post show.
The Sanders campaign late Thursday issued a statement lauding its union contract. “We know our campaign offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns, as is shown by the latest fundraising reports,” Shakir said. “Every member of the campaign, from the candidate on down, joined this movement in order to defeat Donald Trump and transform America. Bernie Sanders is the most pro-worker and pro-labor candidate running for president. We have tremendous staff who are working hard. Bernie and I both strongly believe in the sanctity of the collective bargaining process and we will not deviate from our commitment to it.”
Boy, that’s a lot of words to say, “Nah, we’re not doing it.”
Perhaps the public spotlight on his hypocrisy will be too much for Sanders to overcome, and he’ll actually let his campaign go broke trying to pay canvassers $15 an hour. Or maybe he’ll just revel in the same hypocrisy that lets him simultaneously be part of, and rail against, the 1%. When your followers are barely distinguishable from a cult, it doesn’t much matter.