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Freedom Socialist Party Pushes for $20 Minimum Wage, Posts $13-an-Hour Job

Topics: Current Events

The Freedom Socialist Party, which broke away from the United States Socialist Workers Party in 1966, has been key in helping to drive new laws across the country to raise the minimum wage. Just this year, they helped cities like Seattle pass new laws that set the minimum wage at a a whopping $15 per hour, which will be phased in by April.

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The party’s platform pushes an even higher minimum wage, calling for $20 per hour for workers across the country. However, earlier this week, some right-wing bloggers called out the Freedom Socialist Party for being hypocritical after the party posted a job listing on Craiglist and Indeed looking for a part-time web designer. The problem? The party was only going to pay the prospective employee $13 an hour — much less than any wage they have pushed to promote.

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Doug Barnes, the party’s national secretary, told The Huffington Post on Saturday that the group relies heavily on donations from low-wage workers and could not afford to pay much to an inexperienced designer.

“We’re practicing what we’re preaching in terms of continuing to fight for the minimum wage,” Barnes said. “But we can’t pay a lot more than $13.” 

He added, however, once minimum wages are increased, “Our donor base would all be affected, and the low-wage workers who support us with $5 to $6 a month would be able to give more. That would affect our ability to pay higher wages as well.”

Due to the strong backlash, Barnes removed the listing, but it brings up questions regarding just how much groups and those backing higher minimum wage policies understand the implications on small businesses. If those who preach a higher minimum wage can’t practice it, how can a small business afford to suddenly pay their employees twice as much when they can’t expect a sudden increase in business? Ultimately, if businesses can’t afford to pay workers, employees could suffer as well.

Maybe it’s best to take a look at what companies like Starbucks are doing, and decide whether internal culture — not outside pressure — is the best way to approach increase in minimum wages. 

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