Bernie Sanders campaign announces it will cut hours to pay staffers $15 minimum wage

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA – JULY 20: (L-R) Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks as O. Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa and Kathie Obradovich, the opinion editor and columnist for the Des Moines Register, look on during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 20, 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Twenty democratic presidential hopefuls participated in the AARP and Des Moines Register candidate forums that featured four candidates per forum that were being held in cities across Iowa over five days.. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(FOX NEWS) – Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced this weekend he will cut staffers’ hours so that they can effectively be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage, prompting mockery from critics who say the move is more evidence that Sanders’ plan to raise the national minimum wage is hypocritical and would only lead to less work and more unemployment.

The Washington Post first reported last Thursday that Sanders’ field staffers were upset that Sanders championed a $15 minimum wage on the campaign trail, and made headlines for railing against major corporations who pay “starvation wages” — even as his own employees made “poverty wages.”

In response, Sanders told The Des Moines Register he was “very proud” to lead the first major presidential campaign with unionized workers, but also “bothered” that news of the internal strife had spilled into the media.

The self-described socialist candidate said junior field organizers earn roughly $36,000 per year in salary, with employer-paid health care and sick leave. But he acknowledged that their salary can effectively dip below $15 per hour if staffers work much more than 40 hours per week, which is common on presidential campaigns.

The solution is to “limit the number of hours staffers work to 42 or 43 each week to ensure they’re making the equivalent of $15 an hour,” he told the Register’s Brianne Pfannenstiel.

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

He went on to say that the union contract “not only provides pay of at least $15 an hour, it also provides, I think, the best health care benefits that any employer can provide for our field organizers.”

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