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
- 37 million working people are denied the ability to take a day off when they are ill without losing the income they need.
- According to the Levy Institute, a federal jobs program could employ between 13 and 17 million workers
- Women on average earn 80% of what men earn
- Workers are cheated out of an estimated $15 billion every year by employers paying less than the legal minimum wage, and other forms of wage theft such as stealing tips and forcing employees to work off the clock
Vision and Policy Priorities
Raise the living conditions of workers
Real wages have remained stagnant for the past decades, while both productivity and the cost of living have increased.
- Raise the national minimum wage to $15/hr
- Establish national fair scheduling standards
- Enact stronger wage theft and recovery laws
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 would provide meaningful work to anybody who wants it. The program would:
- Provide a wage of at least $15/hr, 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 jobs market
- Provide a workforce for much needed investments to our nation’s infrastructure and help create a just transition to clean energy
Invest in worker-owned cooperatives
Worker cooperatives are a powerful tool for addressing economic inequality, particularly for low-income communities and communities of color who are systematically shut out of opportunities for fair wages and fair working standards.
- Fund programs such as the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC), a national organization that advances worker-owned workplaces through cooperative equation, advocacy, and development.
- Provide employees with higher wages, opportunities to generate wealth through cooperative ownership, and lead to businesses that are firmly rooted in community
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
- Support legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act, which would simplify the process of forming a union and prevent employer interference in worker organizing
- 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 a concentration of wealth to a small handful of elites while working people suffer. We must stop the exploitation of working people, and create a fair, just economy.
- Create a more progressive tax system by increasing income tax for the wealthiest Americans
- Repeal the Republican tax cuts for the wealthiest 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 families
- Establish a tax on Wall Street’s risky transactions and speculative investments