Patriots: For over 25 years, your generosity has made it possible to offer The Patriot Post without a subscription fee to military personnel, students, and those with limited means. Please support the 2022 Independence Day Campaign today.

Marc A. Thiessen / July 24, 2019

Bernie Sanders Runs Into Socialist Reality

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proudly announced this year that his presidential campaign would be the first in history to have a unionized workforce. Well, he just became the first presidential candidate in history to face a labor revolt from his unionized workforce.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proudly announced this year that his presidential campaign would be the first in history to have a unionized workforce. Well, he just became the first presidential candidate in history to face a labor revolt from his unionized workforce.

According to The Washington Post, the Sanders campaign workers union, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, complained that field organizers are “making poverty wages” and that “many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially.” Because field organizers are working 60 hours a week, according to the union, their annual salary of $36,000 works out to $13 an hour — well below the $15-an-hour federal minimum wage Sanders has called for.

It gets worse. When the Sanders campaign offered to raise salaries to that level, the union rejected the offer. Why? Because, The Post reports, “the raise would have elevated field staff to a pay level responsible for paying more of their own health-care costs.” It turns out that Sanders pays only 85% of health-care premiums for campaign staff making more than $36,000 — despite campaigning on a promise of free health care for all with “no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses.”

So, what was Sanders’s solution? First, he cut the hours of his field staffers from 60 to about 43 a week — which meant the campaign could say it was paying $15 an hour without actually increasing field organizers’ pay. Then on Monday, his campaign finally gave in and agreed to raise salaries to $42,000, preserve full health premium coverage and limit workers’ hours to 50 per week.

During the dispute, Sanders’s campaign defended its policies, declaring, “We know our campaign offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns.” Well, McDonald’s offers wages competitive with other fast-food chains, but that has not been good enough for Sanders. He has marched with McDonald’s workers, and attended Walmart shareholder meetings, to demand they be more generous with their workforces. How could he demand those companies provide pay and benefits that he was resisting giving his own employees?

Now the union has forced Sanders to capitulate on wages and health care. But why stop there? The Sanders union seems to be suffering from a lack of imagination. If union organizers really want to hold Sanders to his own standards, then a $15 minimum wage and premium-free health care should be only the beginning.

Sanders has promised to cover the cost of prescription drugs and make sure “no one in America pays over $200 a year for the medicine they need.” He has promised to pay for “universal childcare and pre-kindergarten.” He has promised free college, because “you are not truly free when the vast majority of good-paying jobs require a degree that requires taking out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to obtain.” He has promised to “free generations of Americans from the outrageous burden of student loans by canceling all existing student debt.” Is he setting an example by providing all these benefits to workers on his campaign?

Of course not. Because if he did, his campaign would quickly run out of cash. Ah, but there’s the rub. As former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher famously put it, “the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

A political campaign literally runs on other people’s money. It is bare-bones operation, in which staffers choose to work ridiculous hours for low pay, and rely on donations from supporters to get the candidate’s message out. In Sanders’s case, the majority of his donations come from small donors — ordinary Americans who are sacrificing their hard-earned money to help get him elected, not to fund social welfare for political operatives.

Every dollar his campaign spends on higher pay and free stuff for campaign workers is a dollar not spent on campaign ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. And if his campaign can’t get those ads on the air, then Sanders will lose — and his entire team will lose their jobs, their benefits and their chances of a cushy White House job. Then they won’t ever get access to the United States treasury and the chance to really spend other people’s money. So, we should all be grateful to the UFCW Local 400 for pulling more Sanders campaign money off the airwaves and into the pockets of Sanders’s field workers, while limiting the hours they can work to spread his socialist message. They’ve done the country a great service.

© 2019, The Washington Post Writers Group

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.