Wages, Workers Rights & Collective Bargaining

Wage Act 

H.R. 3514 and Companion Bill S. 2042 - To amend the National Labor Relations Act to strengthen protections for employees wishing to advocate for improved wages, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment and to provide for stronger remedies for interference with these rights, and for other purposes - Are both known as the Wage Act.

On September 16, 2015 - H.R. 3514 sponsored by House Rep. Bobby Scott a democrat from Virginia, was referred to the committee on House Education and the Workforce. While S.2042 sponsored by Senior Senator Patty Murray a democrat from Washington was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Even though both bills have be co-sponsored by some of the most progressive, labor friendly members of Congress, both have less than a 2% chance of getting past committee and less than 1% chance of being enacted. 

It’s unfortunate, that we currently have legislators in Washington who don’t care much, if at all, about the working families of this country and it’s for that reason - only 15% of bills made it past committee and only about 3% were enacted during the 113th Congress (2013–2015).

I support the Wage Act.

I support a nationwide increase for Minimum wage to $15.00 per hour with regular cost of living increases.

 

Workplace Democracy Act

H.R. 3690 and Companion Bill S. 2142 - To amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, and for other purposes - Are both known as the Workplace Democracy Act.

On October 6, 2015 - H.R. 3690 sponsored by House Rep. Mark Pocan a democrat from Wisconsin, was referred to the committee on House Education and the Workforce. While S.2142 sponsored by Junior Senator Bernie Sanders an Independent from Vermont was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Again, even though both bills have be co-sponsored by some of the most progressive, labor friendly members of Congress, both have a 4% chance of getting past committee and a 2% chance of being enacted. 

I fully support workers rights and an employees right to form, join and assist labor organizations. Therefor, complete support the Workplace Democracy Act. I will co-sponsor this bill, while rallying support and will fight for its enactment.

Public Support for Union Organizing Campaign

I was raised in a union family; both of my parents were union workers, my mother - a teacher, and my father - bot state employees. Two of my grandparents were union factory workers in Detroit, while another grandparent was a union teacher. I’m a former member of I.A.T.S.E. and I’m married to a sixteen-year member of UA Plumber pipefitters who was a member of SEIU for fifteen-years prior to joining UA. Together we’ve raised two daughters who were able to benefit from being part of a union family.   

Not only would I voice public support for union organizing campaigns, I already do. I am, and will always be true to myself and to the personal connection I have to unions.

Bargaining, Representational Rights, Official Time & Automatic Dues Deduction for Federal Employees 

The wording of this question could be interrupted as misleading or confusing. Because I’d like clarification that I can’t get at the moment, I’m going to take a different approach to this question. 

Let me start by saying; all employees’ whether working in positions for the government or private sector should be allowed and provided protections for their bargaining and representational rights. 

Official Time

Section 7131 of title 5, United States Code, defines and authorizes official time for unions representing Federal employees. - Broadly defined as paid time off from assigned Government duties to represent a union or its bargaining unit employees.

Automatic Dues Deductions

After 1991, legislative history provides employees who are members of a bargaining unit and who choose to become members of the labor organization that is their exclusive representative, may elect to have their dues deducted from their paychecks by means of an automatic payroll deduction. There is no provision to authorize the payment of union dues by automatic payroll deduction for individuals who do not authorize the payment of union dues or for Individuals who are not members of the bargaining unit. Providing further, the payroll deduction must terminate when an employee is promoted or reassigned from a bargaining unit position to a position outside of the bargaining unit.

There is a statute in place, however, that authorizes payroll deductions only for persons who are "in an appropriate unit" and expressly states the deductions must terminate when "the agreement between the agency and the exclusive representative involved ceases to be applicable to the employee. 

Therefore, when bargaining unit members who have elected to pay membership dues to their exclusive representative through payroll deductions are promoted or transferred out of the bargaining unit, may no longer authorizes the deduction of union dues from their paychecks. 

Accordingly, such deductions must terminate as a matter of law. Deductions made contrary to this statute are erroneous and must be refunded to the employees.

Due to Section 7131 of title 5, United States Code and the legislative history noted above, I conclude: The only reason members of Congress would have to propose legislative efforts to impede the use of Official Time or eliminate Automatic Dues Deduction, would be to hinder the Collective Bargaining and Representational Rights for Federal Employees

I do not and will not support efforts to weaken current worker friendly labor laws. We need to instead strengthen laws to protect the health, welfare and safety of workers. 

Supporting Monetary Policies That Promote Full Employment 

Many people do not understand the difference between the terms Job Creation and Full Employment. In fact, I believe our Governor is a prime example of that. 

Rick Scott boasts that he is responsible for creating “One Million” new jobs for the state of Florida, and not many question him to ask -- What did of jobs? 

Few, who do, suffer tremendous ridicule and are then publicly attacked by our criminal governor. 

These “One Million” jobs do not boost the state of our economy, they are not jobs people want, and they are not jobs where people can find employment at a prevailing rate of wage. 

Instead, it’s just the opposite, Rick Scott’s “One Million” jobs are the kind of jobs that require you have more than one, just to make ends meet. These jobs provide no measures for advancement or benefits. 

We need jobs that will provide Full Employment and yes, I would support monetary policies that would promote Full Employment. 

On another note: I believe we should strive to have better than a B+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Buy America & Local Procurement

Earlier this month, on Friday, April 1, 2016, the White House officially notified Congress that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would require waiving U.S. “Buy America” government purchasing preferences for goods and services from Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and other Pacific Rim nations, and it was not an April Fools joke. 

The TPP is only one of the current assaults threatening to weaken “Buy America” – these assaults must stop. 

Yes, I support legislation needed to strengthen “Buy America” and local procurement. 

Use of Federal Workforce Development Funds

Unions paved the way to the middle class for millions, pioneering benefits along the way such as paid pensions and health care. shrinking union membership affects all Americans, the current decline of labor squeezes the middle class, raises inequality, and undermines democratic values.

Using Germany as the High Road example: The German high road entails what is known as a “virtuous circle” where the production of high labor-value-added, high-quality goods, requiring a skilled cooperative core workforce, promotes exports.

These qualities in turn have reinforced the “diversified quality production mode,” relying on broad, long-term consensus among the social partners. These qualities in turn have reinforced the "diversified quality production mode," relying on broad, long-term consensus among the social partners. This is the sort of consensus that has historically led German unions to forfeit wage gains in times of recession, in the knowledge that they would be recouped in boom times.

United States, even in industries in which a high road is possible we see firms not only pursuing the high road but also building a lower labor cost, nonunion model without labor participation in management and with less concern for skill development. 

Therefor, I would like to say that I would support the use of Workforce Development Funds on High Quality jobs and High Road Employers, but I absolutely will not, under the structure High Road is being used in the United States.

Opposing Federal Pay Freezes

I will oppose further federal pay freezes and benefit cuts, as they have already cost federal employees more than $159 billion in lost income.

Supporting Raising the Federal Minimum Wage – Indexing and Parity for Tipped Workers

I support raising the federal minimum wage with indexing and parity for tipped workers. 

I believe the federal minimum wage should be $15.00 per hour starting immediately, and  $12.00 per hour for tipped employees – with indexing increases of $1.25 per hour each year until 2020, and regular cost of living increases each year there after. 

Regulatory Action to Restore Overtime Protections 

Yes, I do support and will sponsor actions to restore overtime protections.

Davis-Bacon

The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, apply to contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works. 

The 1931 Act establishes the requirement for paying the local prevailing wages on public works projects for laborers and mechanics.

I oppose efforts to weaken or appeal the Davis-Bacon Act and strongly feel it needs to be strengthened and expanded. When elected, I will support efforts to increase minimums and push paying prevailing federal wage if they are higher than prevailing local wages. 

Service Contract Act

The McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act of 1965 - requires contractors and subcontractors performing services on prime contracts in excess of $2,500 to pay service employees in various classes no less than the wage rates and fringe benefits found prevailing in the locality, or the rates (including prospective increases) contained in a predecessor contractor's collective bargaining agreement. 

The Department of Labor issues wage determinations on a contract-by-contract basis in response to specific requests from contracting agencies. These determinations are incorporated into the contract.

When elected, I will oppose any efforts to weaken or repeal the Service Contract Act and will openly support and sponsor legislative efforts to strengthen the act.

Section 13 (c) Transit Labor Protections

Section 13(c)of the Federal Transit Law requires that employee protections must be certified by the Department of Labor and in place before federal transit funds can be released to a mass transit provider.

Yes, I would support efforts to ensure labor protections apply to all federal transit programs including innovative finance initiatives.

The Use of Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s)

A Project Labor Agreement (PLA), also known as a Community Workforce Agreement, is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. Before any workers are hired on the project, construction unions have bargaining rights to determine the wage rates and benefits of all employees working on the particular project and to agree to the provisions of the agreement. The terms of the agreement apply to all contractors and subcontractors who successfully bid on the project, and supersede any existing collective bargaining agreements. 

PLAs are used on both public and private projects, and the signatory parties to meet the needs of any particular project may tailor their specific provisions. The agreement may include provisions to prevent any strikes, lockouts, or other work stoppages for the length of the project. 

These agreements have been in use in the United States since the 1930s, and first became the subject of debate in the 1980s, for their use on publicly funded projects. In these instances, government entities made signing PLAs a condition of working on taxpayer funded projects. This type of PLA, known as a government-mandated PLA, is distinct from a PLA voluntarily entered into by contractors on public or private work. 

Executive orders issued since 1992 have affected the use of government-mandated PLAs for federal construction projects and the most recent order, issued by President Barack Obama in February 2009, encourages their use by federal agencies.  —- Yes, I will oppose efforts to undermine the use of PLA’s

The Misclassification of Employees as Contractors 

I will support legislative and budget resources to end the misclassification of employees as contractors.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is “FREE TRADE” not “FAIR TRADE” and is not an acceptable Trade Deal for the working families of America. 

The deal would reward countries with poor labor regulations and environmental standards.

The ballooning trade deficit of the United States since NAFTA should be evidence enough that the country does not need another free trade agreement.

In fact, it was Representative Alan Grayson FL-9 who called the TPP  “NAFTA on steroids.”

He’s absolutely correct. Since NAFTA, Americans have bought trillions of dollars of goods and services produced by foreigners in foreign lands, but those foreigners have not bought an equal amount of goods and services produced by Americans, causing the loss of hundreds of thousands of good paying American jobs. 

Even President Obama said, ”We're not going to be able to compete for low-wage, manufacturing jobs anymore. That ship has sailed”

Not only will the TPP make competing for good paying jobs nearly impossible. The deal is loaded with corporate gotcha’s that will hurt workers, consumers, the environment and the list goes on.

Just last year, the World Trade Organization ruled that at least two U.S. laws must be repealed or modified to satisfy the profit goals of corporations in Mexico and Canada. 

Last May, a WTO trade tribunal ruled that the “Dolphin Safe” tuna labeling used in the U.S. violated the free-trade “Rights” of Mexican tuna fleets.

Another example - a WTO tribunal overruled our country-of-origin labeling on meat products, so our families can know where our meat comes from. Since that time, Congress has reversed this sensible right-to-know law hidden inside a spending bill. 

ϖI do not support and will oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

ϖI will support and sponsor legislative efforts to strengthen enforcement and push for fair-trade agreements. 

Countervailing Duties (CVD’s), also known as anti-subsidy duties.

These are trade import duties imposed under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. There are used in order to neutralize the negative effects of subsides. 

ϖThe United States needs to engage in only fair-trade deals, I would support legislation that allows for CVD’s as long as implementation prevents injury to domestic producers and the importing country.

Global Worker Rights 

The United States needs to raise labor standard requirements for the countries engaged with us in Trade Agreements. 

I will defend worker rights and will push for increased labor standards globally.

Corporate Taxes

I will vote for corporations to pay the same taxes on offshore profits as they pay on domestic profits, remove their incentive for outsourcing jobs. 

Wall Street

  • In my opinion Dodd-Frank does not go far enough to regulate big banks, but I do support the full implementation of Dodd-Frank. Congress needs to stop weakening the Act through must pass legislative bills. 
  • I do support a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act, as long as it takes us closer to the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 than and doesn’t weaken Dodd-Frank. 
  • I will vote against tax deductibility of stock based executive pay and to close “Carried Interest” loopholes.  
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