Democratic National Committee: Pay your interns

While Democrats are leading the call for a higher minimum wage, their own Democratic National Committee doesn’t bother paying its interns the current one.

The DNC is currently accepting applications for 2014 internships. The work done by interns may vary, but note how the DNC itself describes interns’ contributions as being “vital” to its daily functioning:

Intern responsibilities and tasks vary depending on department, but all interns play an important role in their departments.  While all interns will perform some administrative tasks, making copies — filing, etc. — the work you do is vital to the day to day functions and department projects DNC staff are working on.  For example:

Communications allows interns to work closely with the media, collecting daily news clips, formatting press releases, and monitoring television appearances by Democratic surrogates.

Unfortunately for those who aren’t from well-to-do families or don’t have other sources of funding, the DNC internships are unpaid. While a small stipend may be available to a limited number of interns, most will have to fend for themselves.

I’m a big supporter of people volunteering to support their favorite candidates. But I also think that office interns for political organizations should be paid for their work. If the DNC wants to widen opportunities for all to see the inner workings of party leadership and to become familiar with this side of the political process, then it will find the money to pay at least the minimum wage to its interns. In doing so, it will send a valuable message about walking the talk.

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Hat tip on DNC listing: Ben Pianko

2 responses

  1. Great post. Do you think that accepting unpaid internships is sending political organizations, or for that matter, any organization, the wrong message? Young people who want to become engaged sometimes pursue unpaid internships as a way of building their resumes and creating a more marketable image. Many believe that enduring unpaid internships might increase the chance of finding something less financially-crushing in the future. Is a young person’s eagerness to accept unpaid work one of the reasons why unpaid internships are so widespread? I wonder how the DNC, or any organization, should respond to students who, whether wealthy or not, sacrifice wages for experience.

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