“Is Karl Marx in Charge of the Pages This Year?”


There was controversy last night and this morning over a party policy requiring that pages working the NDGOP convention share their tips, but it seems to have been settled in compromise.

The pages are usually younger people who work at the convention, mostly as assigned assistants to specific legislative districts. Traditionally pages get tips for good service which they can keep for themselves. This year, however, the pages were told that they have to pool their tips and share them equally.

There has even been a petition circulated here at the convention to overturn the policy, and some of the pages have taken to social media with their concerns.

This post from Instagram, for instance:

NDGOP party officials seemed to be sticking to their guns at first. “We’re not going to change a process that has been put in place,” Carma Hanson, a NDGOP Vice Chairman who also serves on the convention planning committee, said in an email sent to other convention officials at 6:58am this morning.

I spoke with Hanson on the convention floor this morning. She said tip pooling is the way “it’s always been done” for the pages at the convention.

“We don’t have enough tipped positions for all the pages,” she told me, noting that some pages are assigned to serve districts where they’ll get tips while others work in other areas where tips are unlikely. She also said that the pages aren’t working for the tips but are rather here to support the party.

Marissa Bauer, who is chair of the Page Committee for this convention and opposed the tip sharing policy, told me Hanson’s assertion that tip pooling being the standard practice at past conventions isn’t the case. “Not true, I chaired the page Committee during Fargo 2008,” she told me via text message when I shared Hanson’s comments with her. “Also, ask any of the pages from previous years.”

I did speak to one delegate from eastern North Dakota who asked not to be named who said he worked as a page at previous conventions and routinely got tips for things like fetching coffee which he was allowed to keep for himself.

“Is Karl Marx in charge of the pages this year?” he asked. There was a general sense from many here at the convention that forcing the pages to share tips runs contrary to the Republican party’s ideas about free markets and individualism.

Ultimately a decision was made to compromise on the policy. Pages will be able to keep the tips they receive individually, and all pages will share money collected from a pass-the-hat effort later in the convention.