Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gone on the defensive against his own team.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate pushed back following complaints by his unionized campaign staffers who reportedly said they are receiving "poverty wages," rather than the proposed federal minimum of $15 an hour that Sanders has made a central part of his campaign.
In a statement on Friday, Sanders said his campaign has a "historic contract agreement that provides unprecedented protections and benefits" that include pay of at least $15 an hour and "the best health care benefits that any employer can provide for our field organizers."
Field staff do earn above minimum wage for a standard workweek of 40 hours, Vox explains, but those workers say they actually work around 60 hours per week, which would place their earnings at around $13 an hour, less than Sanders' proposed federal minimum. Those long hours are typical of campaigns, Vox reports. But the issue is that some members of the team are salaried and therefore don't necessarily receive overtime wages for pulling those extra hours.
Sanders also expressed frustration that his staffers aired their complaints to the media. "It is not really what labor negotiations are about, and it's improper," Sanders said. Read more at Vox. Tim O'Donnell