Recently, we wrote a blog post about paying workers and volunteers on political campaigns. In that post, we mentioned that this could be an area to watch in the future, especially since the current political climate may drive more people to get involved in future campaigns.
It turns out that news on this topic came sooner than expected.
CBS Philadelphia reports that the Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia has made nearly $1 million in payouts from leftover money that it raised for the convention.
Bonuses came in the form of cash payouts, which ranged from $500 for the lowest-level workers, such as interns, to up to $300,000 for the executive director.
However, not everyone received a portion of this money, and a group of about 50 field organizers from across the country are filing a lawsuit for being denied overtime compensation. One of the workers alleges that she worked between 80 and 90 hours per week campaigning while being paid only $3,000 a month, which puts her hourly rate of pay below the minimum wage.
In response to these allegations, the Host Committee says that they made the pay structure clear from the beginning.
This brings us to the point we made in our previous post. Where do campaigns draw the line between intern, employee and volunteer?
Employees deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. On the other hand, if someone chooses to volunteer their time knowing that they will not be paid, that presents a different scenario.