Obama campaign workers angry over unpaid wages

Indianapolis – Lines were long and tempers flared Wednesday not to vote but to get paid for canvassing for Barack Obama. Several hundred people are still waiting to get their pay for last-minute campaigning. Police were called to the Obama campaign office on North Meridian Street downtown to control the crowd.

The line was long and the crowd was angry at times.

“I want my money today! It’s my money. I want it right now!” yelled one former campaign worker.

A former spokesman for the Obama campaign said 375 people were hired as part of the Vote Corps program and said people signed up to work three-hour shifts at a time. Three hours of canvassing got workers a $30 pre-paid Visa card.

The workers showed up to get their cards Wednesday morning at 10:00 am.

“There was a note on the door saying 1:00 pm and then at 1:20 pm everybody was like why is nobody here. They just got here and they’re trying to get it organized,” said Heather Richards, a former campaign worker.

The large gathering of around 375 people prompted police to call in extra officers and set up temporary barricades. The barricades helped keep the crowd from spilling out onto Meridian Street. Police say the several hundred people in line were for the most part orderly.

“No arrests. Some of the people were upset at first because the line wasn’t moving as fast as they thought it should. But we really haven’t had any problems,” said Major Darryl Pierce, Metro Police.

Eventually people did start getting paid, but some said they were missing hours and told to fill in paperwork making their claim and that eventually they would get a check in the mail.

“Still that’s not right. I’m disappointed. I’m glad for the president, but I’m disappointed in this system,” said Diane Jefferson, temporary campaign worker.

“It should have been $480. It’s $230,” said Imani Sankofa.

“They gave us $10 an hour. So we added it. I added up all the hours so it was supposed to be at least $120. All I get is $90,” said Charles Martin.

“I worked nine hours a day for 4 days and got paid half of what I should have earned,” said Randall Waldon.

Some people weren’t satisfied with filling out a claim form for money they felt was still due to them.

“They say that they gonna call you or they going to mail it to you, but I don’t know. We’ll see what happens,” said Antron Grose.

“Talking about they’ll mail it to us. I ain’t worried about that, man. They’re not going to mail nothin’,” said Martin.

http://www.wthr.com/global/story.asp?s=9299280

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