Could Tom Perez or his top lieutenants afford to shave $10 an hour from their own salaries to pay interns? Could its millionaire consultants be taxed a little to make sure interns get paid the minimum wage?” asks Ross Eisenbrey, a senior fellow at the union-funded Economic Policy Institute. “A party that claims to want a higher minimum wage should pay it to every employee—even those it calls interns.”
In an exclusive interview with Payday, Perez says that he wants to see Democratic politicians get more involved in building community support for labor struggles in the South, like the recent union drives at Boeing in South Carolina and Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn., where Republican politicians vigorously fought against unionization. If Perez is able to get Southern Democrats to embrace the labor movement, it would be a significant reversal of practices by the Democratic Party.
“You need a combination of all the grassroots and the grasstops moving in unison. The truth is that leaders don’t lead, they follow,” says Geevarghese. “With Ellison as the deputy chair, he will get into the streets. He will help harness grassroots anger, and Perez will help move that within the Democratic Party.”