Union bosses at the AFL-CIO’s annual summer meeting are trumpeting their success in pushing for a $15 minimum wage, but some employees at the union-owned conference center hosting the event might not always get paid that much.
A young woman working as an usher at the conference center in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland, said that she wasn’t paid $15 per hour.
“I don’t make that much,” she told The Washington Times.
The woman said her job at the George Meany Center, which is owned and operated by the AFL-CIO affiliated Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), was a summer job.
An ATU official, who refused to give her name, told the woman not to talk to the press and quickly escorted her away.
ATU spokesman David Roscow later insisted that the young woman made $20 per hour.
“They all make at least $15 per hour,” Mr. Roscow said.
After saying that the young woman could not be interviewed, he later arranged an interview with the woman in a locked conference room at the center. Mr. Roscow and the ATU official who would not identify herself attended the brief interview.
“I get $20 an hour,” the young woman said.
Asked how long she had been making that wage, the unnamed ATU official ended the interview.
“Our international president would not have it that we pay anyone less than $15 per hour,” Mr. Roscow said.
At $20 per hour, the young woman, who ATU identified as an intern, would be making the equivalent of $41,600 a year.
Maryland’s minimum wage stands at $8.25 per hour, or about $17,160 a year.
The AFL-CIO has been pushing for a $15 minimum wage and leading the fight for boosting minimum wages to that level in cities across the country.
Last week, New York moved to hike the minimum wage to $15 for fast-food workers and the University of California announced the same minimum wage for all its employees.
The union was hosting Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton at the summer meeting. She has said she supports the move by New York, but has resisted endorsing a hike of the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour.
• S.A. Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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