The Obama administration’s Department of Labor is running a social media campaign this week to encourage people to lobby Congress for a minimum wage increase — a move raising eyebrows because it is similar to the campaign messaging being used by Democrats to drive voters to the polls this year.
“It’s been five years since the last time the federal minimum wage was increased,” Lia Gallitano of the Labor Department wrote in a blog post on the government website. “The cost of living has increased significantly since then, but wages have not.”
In her post on the government-funded website, Gallitano explained that on Thursday, the Labor Department is asking people to tweet support for a minimum wage increase with a #1010now or #5Reasons hashtag. That is to highlight the “#5Reasons to raise the wage to #1010Now,” the staffer said.
“We believe that hard work should be rewarded with fair pay, and that no one working a full-time job in America should have to live in poverty,” Gallitano wrote. “If you believe that, too, join our minimum wage Day of Action.”
The department is asking supporters of a minimum wage increase to tweet a graphic made by taxpayer-funded staffers at the Labor Department.
Last year, The New York Times wrote the story: “Democrats Turn to Minimum Wage as 2014 Strategy.”
“The effort to take advantage of growing populism among voters in both parties is being coordinated by officials from the White House, labor unions and liberal advocacy groups,” the paper reported.
A glance at the websites of Democratic campaign committees and candidates in tight races indicates how important the issue is to Democrats this year.
The Democratic National Committee: “It’s time to act on the minimum wage.”
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee: “Raising the minimum wage would help lift millions of workers out of poverty, stimulate the economy, and help families across the country. That’s why Senate Democrats and President Obama are working on plans to raise the minimum wage.”
Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes: “When elected to the U.S. Senate, Alison will work to…raise the minimum wage…”
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall: “Tell Congress: Pass the Minimum Wage Fairness Act now.”
This is leading some conservative critics to question whether the social media campaign from the Labor Department is appropriate use of taxpayer-funded resources.
“The Department’s audacious actions are even more troubling because it shows that DOL leadership has no qualms about lobbying for labors’ wish list in an election year,” said Ryan Williams, a senior adviser to the anti-big labor group Worker Center Watch. “Union bosses have plenty of well-funded, front groups to push their job-killing policies, and taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a government sponsored effort to promote their destructive agenda.”
A Labor Department spokesperson told The Daily Caller: “Our activities have all focused on the benefits of a minimum wage increase for all workers and the economy, and have not included any partisan political discussion.”
“The Department of Labor’s statutory mission is ‘to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners and job seekers of the United States, to improve working conditions, and to enhance their opportunities for profitable employment.’ The Department’s activities to urge an increase in the minimum wage are directly in furtherance of that mission,” the spokesman said.