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By: Mark Glennon


Hiring a Field Organizer, says a posting by Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky: “Hours are very long and irregular.” Responsibilities include maintaining “7 day per week presence in office.”


Pay: $2,000 per month.

Schakowsky protesting for $15/hour


The problem is that Rep. Schakowsky is an outspoken supporter of a $15 per hour minimum wage — the “Fight for 15” movement, it’s called. That would be $2,400 per month even if the job took only 40 hours per week, which it apparently doesn’t. In fact, if this is a 60 hour per week job, which it looks like, Schakowsky’s pay would come to just $8.33 per hour — and never mind overtime. This is not an intern position. One or two years of experiences is required.


What a splendid example of one problem with a $15 minimum wage. Some people take certain low wage or even no wage jobs for the experience, connections, training, political zeal, whatever. Others simply aren’t worth more to the employer, and forcing a higher wage eliminates their jobs.


The current Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour isn’t enough to live on. Nobody denies that. The issue, instead, looking at it solely from the workers’ perspective, is whether the benefit of a raise for some outweighs the lost jobs for others. That’s been debated for decades. Personally, I’d like to see it raised to something around $9.00 – $10.00 per hour, but I can’t claim to to have any science behind that — it’s just my gut sense about where the balance should be struck.


But there’s one thing there should be no debate about: If you say paying less than $15 per hour is wrong, then pay $15 per hour.


There’s another irony in Rep. Schakowsky’s job posting. For a Field Director, she wants a “low-drama” type.


Drama, actually, is a big part of what $15 per hour advocacy is about.


*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.


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What’s Rep. Schakowsky’s stance on Chicago’s sick leave ordinance? If she’s backing Fight for $15, she probably also believes employees should accrue sick days. Even though the ordinance doesn’t start until 2017, there’s nothing’s stopping her from providing this benefit today if she truly supports it. And it doesn’t have to be confined to Chicago’s borders.