Democratic Congresswoman Caves After Unpaid Re-Election Campaign Interns Threaten Strike

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal will pay her re-election campaign interns after 16 unpaid interns threatened to strike earlier in July.

“The exploitative conditions of our labor differ so drastically from the supposed principles of this campaign that we can no longer, in good faith, continue our work without a critical reevaluation of the conditions of our compensation,” the interns told Jayapal’s campaign staff in a letter, reported online Seattle news site Crosscut.

Jayapal’s team agreed to pay 12 campaign interns approximately $18 per hour for 10 hours of work per week, reported Crosscut.

The letter stressed that unpaid internships filter out all candidates but those who can afford to work without pay, reported Crosscut. (RELATED:  GOP Sen. Cory Gardner Calls Out Obama And Democrats For Flip-Flopping On Russia: ‘Pretty Remarkable’)

“It is contrary for Rep. Jayapal’s campaign team to stand by its unpaid internship program while also preaching that the field lacks racial, gender, economic or geographic diversity,” continued the letter, according to Crosscut.

The threatened strike came just weeks before Jayapal’s Democratic primary on Aug. 7 as she seeks re-election to Washington’s seventh congressional district in 2018. She has represented the district that includes part of Seattle since 2016.

Unpaid interns are common in congressional offices and campaign teams. Only 8 percent of Republican House representatives pay their interns, compared with 3.6 percent of Democratic House representatives, according to a 2017 study by Pay Our Interns.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Jayapal’s office for comment but received no response at the time of publication.

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Tags : elections pramila jayapal washington
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