Democrats are exploiting workers

Bill Lueders of Isthmus has broken this story about Decmocratic candidates paying workers less than [tag]minimum wage[/tag] for their work on a [tag]campaign[/tag] to raise the minimum wage.

Here’s the story:

A group that raises money for Democratic Congressional candidates uses a [tag]canvassing[/tag] company that pays some workers submimium wage, in apparent violation of Wisconsin state law, to talk about the need to raise the federal minimum wage, Isthmus newspaper has learned.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), based in Washington, D.C., has hired Grassroots Campaigns, a Boston-based for-profit company with operations in 18 U.S. cities, to conduct canvassing on its behalf. The DCCC’s “New Direction for American” agenda, which provides the talkiing points canvassers are taught to use to solicit contributions, includes a call to “Raise the minimum wage.”

What follows is an article on this topic from Isthmus‘ Sept. 1, 2006 edition, and several suppporting documents.

The handout labelled “[tag]Grassroots[/tag] [tag]Voter Outreach[/tag]” was provided by Miles Kristan, a Madison student who worked for Grassroots Campaigns, soliciting money for the DCCC. Emily Larsen, the regional director for Grassroots Campaigns (her region includes Madison as well as offices in Minnesota, Texas and Colorado) and Wes Jones, the company’s national canvass director, both say that Grassroots Voter Outreach is distinct from Grassroots Campaigns. Jones describes it as a “sister” company that solicits money for nonpolitcal nonprofit groups.

But the terms of employment appear similar, including the stipulation that “A canvasser who does not meet quota will not receive base pay and will instead be paid” a percentage of what he or she collects. The handout specifies that Grassroots Voter Outreach pays a 30% rate to those who do not make quota; Jones and former Madison employees of Grassroots Campaigns say they received a rate of 47%, which could and sometimes did amount to less than minmum wage.