The Left’s Living Wage Hypocrisy





Photo credit: kyle.rw (Creative Commons)

Considering the amount of effort leftists put into telling others how they should live, one wonders why they rarely heed any of their own advice. One of the many issues highlighting the left’s hypocrisy involves minimum wage laws.

As the Christmas shopping season began, many Walmart employees – along with plenty of political operatives posing as workers – boycotted the retail giant for its perceived reluctance to pay a “living wage.” A few days later, protests halted commerce at fast food restaurants across the nation.

Disregarding the fact these businesses pay deserving staff members well above minimum wage, and each employee agreed to their salary upon being hired, these ideologically driven protesters contend they deserve to earn $15 per hour simply for showing up. Such policies would either cause retail prices to dramatically spike or force the company to close completely. Those taking part in the boycott, however, are comfortable with those risks as long as they get what they want.

Tellingly, when a left-leaning company or organization wants to exploit workers by paying them far less than minimum wage, or nothing at all, there are no corresponding rallies or public demonstrations.

Journalist Charles Davis recently penned an editorial for Vice in which he exposed the duplicitous nature of leftist groups employing unpaid interns while ostensibly championing the worker’s cause. After describing his own meager existence as an intern years ago, he pivoted toward an indictment of leftists who exploit such free labor while championing the cause of a “living wage.”

He went on to decry the practice of media properties such as the far-left Mother Jones, which he wrote “provides excellent coverage of the class war, from union-busting at Walmart to the fight for a living wage at fast-food chains,” though “many of them are exploiting workers in a way that would make corporate America proud.”

For its part, Mother Jones has announced it is ending its current intern program after the scathing report gained national exposure. Other organizations, however, have yet to respond in kind.

“Democracy Now!”, for example, is a popular leftist program that requires interns at its Manhattan office to work at least 20 hours a week for two months. These workers receive no pay unless they work more than five hours in a day — at that point, they receive $15. For comparison’s sake, this daily allowance is what protesters believe a fry cook should earn every hour.

“Washington Monthly” editor Paul Glastris defended his left-leaning publication’s unpaid intern program, saying “we can’t afford it.” The left does conspicuously rejects this valid excuse when it originates from the likes of Walmart or McDonald’s.

Another example is “The New Republic”, which removed a reference to “full-time, unpaid” interns from its website after learning of Davis’ report. Despite what might appear to be a move away from the practice, a company spokesperson confirmed “there has not been a change in policy.”

Salon, one of the nation’s most recognizable leftist news organizations, has regularly published articles decrying the practice while using unpaid interns for a variety of tasks. Even the Obama surrogates in Organizing for Action, a group firmly entrenched in the living wage movement, recently sent out recruitment propaganda in search of “volunteers who are interesting in donating their time to the program, without the expectation of pay….”

Internships, of course, have long been about gaining experience rather than a paycheck. For that reason, organizations from across the political spectrum employ these inexperienced staffers in exchange for valuable real-world lessons.

While Davis’s own comments suggest he is on board with the leftist agenda, he is able to see the speciousness of that position in the “relabeling” of workers as interns “in order to dance around U.S. labor laws.”

–B. Christopher Agee

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Photo credit: kyle.rw (Creative Commons)

 





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