Good Jobs, Wages, Benefits, and Free Time
We live in the wealthiest society in the history of the world, but too many of us are working multiple jobs and struggling to get by. It is time we force corporations to pay out fewer profits and use that money to pay us what we deserve. I want the good life for all of us, and we can have it if we stand together and demand it.
Labor organizers in the past won the 40 hour workweek, an end to child labor, weekends and OSHA. It’s time to fight for the next generation.
Raise the Wage
$7.25 an hour is not enough to get by, and every year workers fall further behind. We must raise the minimum wage to $20 by 2025 so all workers can have a decent standard of living. We must guarantee minimum-wage workers a raise every year, tied to inflation, the rate of productivity growth, or the raise Congress votes for itself — whichever is highest.
Full Employment and a Federal Jobs Guarantee
Everyone who is willing and able to work has the right to a decent job. I support a federal jobs guarantee as part of the Green New Deal with a wage of at least $20 per hour, a pension, health insurance, and the right to form a union. Currently, many government projects are completed by hiring a third party contractor, who then profits from the taxpayers’ dime while paying their workers poverty wages. We must cut out these middlemen and hire workers directly at a living wage. We must also increase our monetary support for those unable to work due to disability. A universal jobs guarantee will boost wages across the board by ensuring that employers are not able to use job scarcity during times of high unemployment as a race to the bottom for workers’ wages, benefits, and working conditions.
I support Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Keep Our Pension Promises Act, which will prohibit reductions in pension benefits to participants in multiemployer pension plans after they were cutback in the dead of night by Congress through the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. A pension is a sacred promise that should never be broken.
Paid Sick Leave
No one should be forced to choose between coming to work sick and giving up a paycheck, or giving up their job. Incentivizing people to come to work sick is both cruel and a threat to public health. We must guarantee every worker three weeks of paid sick time to ensure we all have the time and dignity to heal from illness.
Paid Family Leave
Far too many people are forced to choose between working for a paycheck and caring for a new child or sick loved one. Spending time with family during critical moments is more important than putting profits in an employer’s pocket. The early days of life are a joyous and crucial time, and both parents should be able to spend that time caring for their new child or healing from delivering a baby. At the same time, family members should always have the right to take time off to care for each other in times of illness or death. We must guarantee paid leave as a right for every family.
More Free Time
Humans shouldn’t have to exist on Earth for the sole purpose of working to put profits in someone else’s pocket. We should all have more free time to spend with loved ones, develop hobbies and skills, decompress from our busy lives, and spend more time engaging with the world’s wonders. In Congress, I will work to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to shorten standard full-time employment to 32 hours a week, with the option to work a shorter four-day workweek, guaranteeing overtime pay beyond that.
In addition, I will lead the fight to guarantee five weeks of paid vacation a year and begin working toward a demand for all workers to receive a year-long sabbatical after seven years of working under the same employer.
One job should be enough for everyone to make plenty for a decent life. In Congress, I’ll fight for workers to have the right to predictable, healthy, and fair schedules. The right to a fair workweek, combined with a higher minimum wage and stronger universal social programs like Medicare for All and a jobs guarantee, will ensure workers are always able to work good, stable jobs that can provide security and comfort for their families.
Remove the Social Security Wage Cap and Lower the Retirement Age
Currently, the rich pay Social Security tax on only a fraction of their income, while working-class people pay it on their entire income. We must remove the artificial cap on the Social Security tax and apply it to all forms of income. Make the rich pay their fair share and ensure Social Security benefits remain strong for generations of seniors. Lower the age for full benefits to 62 so that workers can enjoy a longer retirement.
Support Federal Workers Through Greater Job Protections
I will work to establish a no-questions-asked hardship leave policy that would allow for federal employees to take paid leave in the event of future shutdowns. Federal employees are workers, not slaves—no more forcing them to work for free or under untenable conditions because of reckless politicians!
I will vote to reform the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS) to mandate the executive branch fully staff all regulatory agencies, especially the FLRA (Federal Labor Relations Authority) and the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board). We must also amend the FSLMRS to allow for national grievances to be contested in federal district courts rather than through the arbitration process which puts workers at a disadvantage.