Establish Economic Justice for Working Families

We must build a democratic economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy few. Workers should earn a living wage and have access to benefits.

Our government has worsened these problems by divesting from healthcare, education, housing, and infrastructure; privatizing public goods; deregulating the financial industry; and attacking organized labor. The wealthiest of our country have accumulated their wealth through a system that keeps people in poverty.

  • The top 1% controls 38.6% of the nation’s wealth
  • Over 40% of working people are paid less than $15 an hour while the average one-bedroom apartment requires $17.90 an hour
  • Over 34 million workers still cannot earn a single paid sick day to recover from the flu, care for a sick child or seek preventive care and a mere 17 percent of the workforce has access to paid family leave
  • Unions are essential to rebuilding the middle class and reversing decades of income inequality. On average, a union worker earns over 13% more and is much more likely to have access to benefits and strong workplace protections
  • 6.2 million Americans who want work cannot find jobs. Meanwhile, nearly 4.3 million Americans who want full-time work can only find part-time jobs. According to the Levy Institute, a federal jobs program could help 13 to 17 million Americans find work
  • Women on average earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. That wage gap means women would have to work an extra three months a year to keep up. The impact is even worse for women of color – Black women make only 61 cents on the dollar, Indigenous women 58, and Latina women only 53 cents
  • Workers are cheated out of an estimated $15 billion every year by employers paying less than the legal minimum wage, and through other forms of wage theft such as stealing tips and forcing employees to work unpaid overtime

Vision and policy priorities

Improve the living conditions of workers and expand employer-provided benefits

Real wages have remained stagnant for decades, while both productivity and the cost of living have increased. Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet while corporations cut corners and demand more and more from their employees in order to drive up corporate profits.

  • Raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour — I co-sponsored the Raise the Wage Act that passed in the House to do just that
  • Establish a national paid family leave program and ensure every worker has access to sick days
  • Ensure fair scheduling standards across all industries
  • Strengthen equal pay laws, including through the Paycheck Fairness Act I co-sponsored, and enact stronger wage theft and recovery laws
  • Invest in worker-owned cooperatives that give employees a chance to have a stronger say in their working conditions and their future

Create a federal jobs guarantee program

While the unemployment rate is low, millions of workers who want full-time work are forced to work multiple part-time jobs. Millions more, discouraged by their job prospects, do not seek work. A federal jobs guarantee, which I have introduced bold legislation to support, would provide meaningful work to anybody who wants it. The program would:

  • Provide a wage of at least $15 an hour, healthcare coverage, and benefits
  • Lift millions of working families out of poverty
  • Create upward pressure on wages in the private sector
  • Circulate more money into our economy
  • Give workers more bargaining power in the job market
  • Provide a workforce for much needed investments to our nation’s infrastructure and help create a just transition to clean energy

Support workers’ right to collectively bargain

Labor unions have been the driving force for all positive change for workers, but they are under constant attack. We must continue to protect the victories that organized labor has won.

  • Fully fund the Department of Labor so it can protect workers around wage enforcement, hour regulations, and workplace safety
  • Strengthen workers’ right to strike for basic workplace improvements and improve remedies for workers who are retaliated against for exercising those rights
  • Expand the legal definition of an employee to prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors
  • Ban right-to-work legislation, which completely undermines the ability of unions to effectively advocate on behalf of their members

Hold wall street accountable

Wall Street’s reckless behavior led to one of the worst economic crises in American history. Since the 2008 Recession, there has been little done to hold Wall Street accountable, and Republicans are currently working to scale back the modest achievements of the Dodd-Frank Act. Wall Street should not be able to engage in risky behavior and speculative investments with people’s money.

  • Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial banking and investment banking
  • Break up big banks that are “too-big-to-fail”

Create a fair, progressive tax system

The capitalist system has led to a concentration of wealth in a small handful of elites while working people suffer. We must stop the exploitation of working people to create a fair and just economy.

  • Create a more progressive tax system by increasing income tax for the wealthiest Americans
  • Repeal the Republican’s 2017 tax scheme that cut taxes for the nation’s highest earners while driving down revenue for important federal programs that support everyday Americans
  • Close loopholes in our current tax code
  • Repeal the billions of dollars in tax breaks provided to fossil fuel companies
  • Strengthen the estate tax to limit the amount of inter-generational wealth that can be accumulated in the wealthiest
  • Establish a tax on Wall Street’s risky transactions and speculative investment