A Democratic campaign organizer filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia on Wednesday, saying that she and others were forced to work 80 to 90 hours a week and were not paid overtime by the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, and through it, the Democratic National Committee.Yes, humor as a defense against the law, what a concept.
"I don't want to harm the Democratic Party," Bethany Katz of Rosemont said Thursday. "I just want it to stand up for the principles it puts forth."
Katz said she's a Democrat who believes in "Hillary Clinton's cause," which is why the 21-year-old college graduate with a degree in history and political science took a job as an organizer for the Democratic National Committee over the summer, from June to August. She earned $3,000 a month.
No one gets overtime on political campaigns, said Neil Oxman, founder of the Philadelphia-based Campaign Group, who has worked on "hundreds and hundreds of races" on the national, state, and local levels.
"I've hired hundreds and hundreds of people. I've watched thousands of people work on campaigns. People know these jobs are 80- to 100-hours-a-week jobs. No one asks for overtime. If they did, people would think they were joking.
It appears that they think that Obama's new overtime rule shouldn't apply to them:
Katz's suit comes at an interesting time in labor law. On Dec. 1, new regulations will go into effect that will require everyone who earns $913 a week or less to receive overtime, no matter whether their duties are managerial in nature or routine.I would note that Mr. Oxman's suggestion of making organizers independent contractors would fall afoul of the law as well, since, according to the IRS, independent contractors cannot get the specific assignments, or extensive demands for detailed information.
Oxman said that when the law goes into effect, most campaign groups will respond by hiring organizers as independent contractors.
"There is an irony here," said [Katz's lawyer, Justin L.] Swidler: The Democrats campaigned on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour so workers would be paid fairly, yet "despite pushing these principles, they weren't following them."
Needless to say, the irony of this lawsuit is rather intense.
I would also note that these employment practices are a classic example of class privilege, since poor kids cannot afford to put in that much unpaid time, much in the same way that unpaid internships screen out the poor and minorities.