The decline of the American middle class mirrors almost exactly the decline of American labor union membership. In the 1950s and 1960s, the middle class was the strongest it’s ever been, and so were unions. They gave workers bargaining power to get a fair share of the economy’s gains — and unions helped improve wages and working conditions for everyone. But as union membership has weakened, from more than a third of all private-sector workers in unions in the 1950s to less than 7 percent today, the bargaining power of average workers has all but disappeared.
If elected, I will fight for the following policies to strengthen Labor Unions:
- End forced arbitration.
- Make it easier to form a union, with a simple majority of workers voting in favor. Right now, long delays and procedural hurdles give employers plenty of time to whip up campaigns against unions, threatening location close-downs or worker firings.
- Enforce penalties on companies that violate labor laws by firing workers who try to organize a union or intimidating others. These moves are illegal, but nowadays are only penalized by forcing employers to repay some wages to the fired workers, a punishment so light that many employers treat it as just a cost of doing business. I will vote to increase penalties in order to shut down this illegal behavior.
- Enact a federal law that repeals the Taft-Hartley Act. This laws allow workers to get all the benefits of their local union without paying union dues, which is a back-door attack meant to defund unions. If no one pays their dues, unions have no way to provide any union benefits — to anyone. And that means lower wages.