Sen. Bernie Sanders Tuesday confirmed he’s accepted a pay raise proposal from the unionized organizers for his presidential campaign’s workers after they complained they were not being paid the $15 an hour the Vermont independent argues for in his campaign speeches.
“I was insistent that everybody on our staff makes at least $15 an hour, and in fact, they’re making $17 an hour,” Sanders told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “The offer we made for the union several months ago, and I’m happy to tell you, by the way, that offer was just accepted, so we’re back to where we started.”
The move comes after The Washington Post reported that union members had drafted a letter to campaign manager Faiz Shakir, complaining that field organizers were working at least 60 hours a week, dropping their average pay to less than $13 an hour.
Shakir in May recommended raising the pay for field organizers to $42,000 and seeking to extend their workweek to 6 days, but the union rejected the offer at that time, saying it would make workers have to pay more for healthcare costs.
“We were the first campaign in the history of this country because I respect workers rights and I respect the union movement,” said Sanders. “We made an offer which would have addressed that problem several months ago, it was rejected, we underwent negotiations.”
He added that the workers’ healthcare plan is “the best” because it covers 100 percent of their healthcare costs.