The Freedom Socialist Party has responded to criticism that it posted a job opening on Craigslist in Seattle that paid less than the minimum wage the group advocates.
Doug Barnes, the party's national secretary, told The Huffington Post on Saturday that because the group survives primarily on the donations from low-wage workers it cannot currently afford to pay more.
The group came under fire earlier this month from conservative political blogs after the the Craigslist and Indeed.com advertisements came to light. The ads were for a part-time web developer in Seattle with a starting wage of $13 per hour.
Because the wage fell below the $15-per-hour minimum wage the group helped push through recently in the city, many conservatives claimed the ad was nothing more than hypocrisy from the party.
Seattle will begin phasing in that new wage in April.
Even that is well below the $20 minimum wage the party advocates nationally.
Writing for the conservative news website, The Daily Caller, Eric Owens argued that the advertised beginning pay stands in stark contrast to the party’s national platform which calls for, among other things, a 70 percent tax rate for the “top one percent.”
“Despite this month’s job offer of a part-time, 20-hour-per-week, $13-per-hour job, the party also called for a 30-hour work week for everyone ‘with no cut in pay’ and ‘a guaranteed annual income,’” Owens wrote.
But Barnes said the party is on message and is continuing to fight for higher wages, despite the meager pay for the web developer’s job.
“We're practicing what we're preaching in terms of continuing to fight for the minimum wage,” he said. “But we can't pay a lot more than $13.”
Barnes added that as the party continues to win fights, like in Seattle, the resulting rising wages will allow the party to also pay its employees more.
“Our donor base would all be affected, and the low-wage workers who support us with $5 to $6 a month would be able to give more,” he said. “That would affect our ability to pay higher wages as well.”
Barnes’ remarks on Saturday, pointed the finger back at conservatives, accusing them of hypocrisy as well.
“The right-wing attack is very hypocritical,” he said. “These are the same people who fought against the minimum wage and support companies like Walmart.”