If you read our Meet the Candidates 2020 voter’s guide, you’ll know why.
Senator Bernie Sanders is a proud democratic socialist, but his campaign’s labor trouble just spilled into the press yesterday in a Washington Post story.
The Vermont Senator will fight for every union to have the right to bargain collectively, but once they’re at the table, then it becomes a negotiation.
Public officials on all levels of government spend a lot of time in those negotiations, so it’s unsurprising that one would start during the campaign.
The Sanders campaign’s employees work extremely long hours, up to 60 hours per week, which on a salary translates to less than $15 an hour for some workers.
In March, his campaign organized its workers in a historic first for any presidential campaign.
But now, he is in the process of labor negotiations over that issue, which is probably why the details were leaked to the press.
Never Trump pundits celebrated.
However, if you read our Meet the Candidates 2020 voter’s guide on the senator from Vermont, then you’d know that it’s not unlike him to negotiate pragmatically from his workforce.
That’s because Sanders’ foundational political experience was as an executive, the mayor of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city.
We wrote about Mayor Sanders’ governing style in Chapter 5:
As the New York Times reported in early March 1981 after the election:
‘’I’m not going to war with the city’s financial and business community and I know that there is little I can do from City Hall to accomplish my dreams for society,’’ said Mr. Sanders, whose election runs counter to both this state’s native conservatism and the nation’s trend toward the political right.
Mayor Sanders ran Burlington according to his principles, giving his unionized workers a 9% pay raise, but only 7.5% for their supervisors. “We’re getting the workers involved in the day-to-day management,” Sanders explained his managerial style to the New Republic in 1983 before his first successful re-election bid.
“These guys have worked here for years. They said, ‘You can cut here, you can cut there.’ They know.”
At times City staffers even joked that he was “out Republican-ing the Republicans.”
In other words, a careful look at his entire career reveals that Bernie Sanders is not the ideologue that people make him out to be, but rather someone who understands the necessity of pragmatic decision making.
Even if that means having a thorny collective bargaining discussion with the union staffing his campaign.
Update: The Sanders campaign just agreed to ensure that all staffers are paid $15 hourly.