I support minimum wage initiatives to establish a living wage for all.

    • A livable wage allows Americans to meet basic needs, and better maintain a normal standard of living for the benefit of themselves and their families
    • No American working full time should live in poverty.
        • A full-time minimum wage worker ($7.50/hr) earns only $15,600/year.1
        • Establishment of a living wage has shown improved turnover and productivity in the job market, minimal impact on municipal budgets, and little to no employment loss.2
    • As your Congressman, I will work to raise the minimum wage to a Living Wage, and I will support laws that will further strengthen overtime rules for workers.

I am in full support of unions.

    • Right-to-work laws hurt American workers.Unions helped to build the middle class. Unions allow members to negotiate for better pay and other benefits. It is because of unions that we now have the 40-hour work week, weekends off, lunch breaks, paid vacation, paid holidays, and sick leave.3
    • Unionized workers typically receive higher pay, more generous fringe and health care benefits, better pension plans, and more total paid leave.
    • Strong unions set wage standards that non-unions follow.4 Unions fight to raise compensation and benefits, reduce the inequality gap, and work to secure legislated labor protections and rights. And yet, the US has the second-lowest unionization rate in the developed world.5 6
    • America ranks #1 for low-paying jobs; that’s not something to be proud of.7 8
    • As your Representative, I will strive to abolish Right-to-Work laws, and will work with and support local Labor Unions in order to restore collective bargaining rights back to the American worker.

7 Ways I Want to Help Unions

1. Right to Work-for less (RTW) legislation is a deceptively-titled bill that has nothing to do with workers’ rights and everything to do with the corporate elite’s obsession with destroying labor unions. It gives workers the ability to “free ride,” taking union benefits without paying dues, in order to bleed unions of their resources. It is wrong and I will fight it every way I can.

2. Fighting may not be enough with the number of RTW states now in the majority, especially with national RTW legislation on the horizon. This Is why I will expand from the Democrat’s defensive stance to “protect labor rights” and take an aggressive position to expand worker’s rights by introducing two amendments to the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. The Taft-Hartley Act was created to take away rights gained by unions in the 1935 Wagner Act. Taft-Hartley made it illegal for unions to demand that all workers benefitting from a collective bargaining agreement (union contract) join the union and pay dues. Since studies show that RTW laws decrease wages and hurt workers ability to move upward in socio-economic standing, and because RTW forces unions to provide services without compensation (something no other non-governmental organization in the United States is required to do), I will fight to restore the Wagner Act’s provision allowing for members only workplaces.

3. Additionally, I will work to return an important tool that was taken away from labor unions by the Taft-Hartley Act. When the Farm Workers called a grape boycott that included wine and other products made from grapes, they were able to get vineyard owners to treat their employees with dignity and respect. This is called a secondary boycott because it called for the boycott of products beyond those sold by the immediate employer, and it is currently illegal. The Farm Workers could do this only because agricultural labor is specifically excluded from union membership by the National Labor Relations Act. I believe the act violates union’s’ first amendment rights, and labor should be able to inform consumers about working conditions so they can make informed decisions about the products they purchase.

4. The anti-union corporate elite is currently pushing legislation designed to hurt unions’ ability to organize non-union workers. They are making the mechanisms prescribed by the National Labor Relations Act more difficult to navigate successfully in a traditional union election (vote based) campaign. I will fight this type of legislation, but once again, defensively fighting back will not be enough. Given the opportunity, I will revive the Employee Free Choice Act that the previous generation of Democrats allowed to vanish from their platforms.

5. Workers’ Rights are under attack in every way imaginable. One of the most devious ways legislators take away workers’ rights is to defund the organizations created to protect those rights to make them ineffective. I will fight to make sure OSHA, MSHA, the NLRB and others are fully funded and staffed to guard against workplace abuses. It has been said that in its current form, it would take OSHA over 100 years to inspect each employer under its jurisdiction just once. This is unacceptable when on-the-job fatalities are reaching nearly 5,000 a year in the United States. It’s also a reason why union rights need to be expanded, because workers’ rights are useless without enforcement.

6. I will also fight to make sure that no public funds are disbursed for construction without a project labor agreement (PLA). When taxpayers are footing the bill for public infrastructure or other publicly-funded construction, and some of those taxpayers are the very workers doing the work, we should not allow private corporations to attempt to maximize profits on the workers’ backs. Companies that don’t treat workers with dignity and respect can keep building Wal-Marts, but they have no business building our schools.

7. The seventh way I want to help unions is simple, although it’s something most elected officials fail to do. I will listen to what union members and their elected leaders have to say, and I will coordinate with you in the fight for workers’ rights.

These are real, concrete, attainable solutions that I believe any American voter can get behind. I know unions can fight for workers without me, but I want to help. I can only do that with your guidance and support.

  1. http://www.calculators.org/savings/wage-conversion.php
  2. http://www.epi.org/publication/bp170/
  3. https://www.unionplus.org/blog/union-issues/time-another-reason-be-thankful-unions
  4. http://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp143/
  5. http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/collective-bargaining-labour-relations/publications/WCMS_409422/lang--en/index.htm
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Factbook_list_of_developed_countries
  7. http://www.businessinsider.com/oecd-low-wage-paying-jobs-by-country-2014-9
  8. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/unions-are-basically-dead/412831/
  1. http://www.calculators.org/savings/wage-conversion.php
  2. http://www.epi.org/publication/bp170/
  3. https://www.unionplus.org/blog/union-issues/time-another-reason-be-thankful-unions
  4. http://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp143/
  5. http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/collective-bargaining-labour-relations/publications/WCMS_409422/lang--en/index.htm
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Factbook_list_of_developed_countries
  7. http://www.businessinsider.com/oecd-low-wage-paying-jobs-by-country-2014-9
  8. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/unions-are-basically-dead/412831/
  9. http://www.calculators.org/savings/wage-conversion.php
  10. http://www.epi.org/publication/bp170/
  11. https://www.unionplus.org/blog/union-issues/time-another-reason-be-thankful-unions
  12. http://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp143/
  13. http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/collective-bargaining-labour-relations/publications/WCMS_409422/lang--en/index.htm
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Factbook_list_of_developed_countries
  15. http://www.businessinsider.com/oecd-low-wage-paying-jobs-by-country-2014-9
  16. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/unions-are-basically-dead/412831/