Years ago, when I lived near the White House, I used to take long evening walks. Always I would stop and contemplate artist Lumen M. Winter’s amazing mosaic mural at AFL-CIO headquarters. This great work of art provides the viewer with an overwhelming appreciation for the American workforce and the efforts of so many to increase and maintain worker rights. Today, a framed image of this mosaic hangs on my office wall.
The other day, someone asked me for my position on labor. I provided an answer, of course. But I was fortunate recently to receive the 2016 AFL-CIO Congressional Candidate Questionnaire. My answers to that questionnaire provide a much more full answer:
1. RAISING WAGES
I support collective bargaining, as well as the elimination of right-to-work laws. I support a “WPA Part 2” national infrastructure program that puts all of the U.S. back to work (as well as other programs that support Full Employment). I support the expansion of employment protections for working families, and I support legislation that provides an indexed living wage for American workers, as well as overtime protection. I support programs that strengthen U.S.-made product industries, provided such products are made in pro-worker environments. I support Congress strengthening labor standards and expanding employment protections for working families. I do not support international fair trade agreements that leave the U.S. middle class in the proverbial dust. Fair trade must be balanced with education, employment, and innovation support to the full U.S. labor force. I support global worker rights; fair trade built on the back of international labor abuse is immoral. Congress must reform Wall Street. I support the taxation of Wall Street speculation and the creation of a 21st-century Glass-Steagall Act.
2. RETIREMENT SECURITY
I do not support the replacement of Social Security benefits with individual investment accounts. I oppose reducing Social Security benefits; I support increasing Social Security benefits.
3. OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH
I support strengthening whistleblower protections and enhancing OSHA. I particularly oppose efforts to weaken mine worker safety. I support increased worker safeguards.
I support immigration reform and recognize immigration as a cornerstone of American Democracy. I will oppose legislative efforts to scapegoat immigrant groups. I will legislative from a position of: “Give me your tired, your poor.”
5. WORK AND FAMILY POLICIES
Paid Family and Medical Leave, plus increased Sick Leave benefits, are essential components of 21st-century economic progress.
I strongly support debt-free higher education. Governmental student loan debt forgiveness programs should be increased.
6. HEALTH CARE
Healthcare is a human right. It is evil for Governors to refuse to expand Medicaid. Blood is on their hands. I support an efficient national healthcare plan that provides coverage for all and that works to improve public health. I support the creation of efficient, shared learning health systems.
7. CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS
For-profit prisons are immoral. The national incarceration rate must be significantly reduced. Inmate education and workforce reintroduction are keys to reducing recidivism.
As a former Washington DC resident, I support legislation to allow full voting for a DC member of the House of Representatives.
Pay imbalance between men and women must be eliminated.
I am an outspoken LGBTQ Ally. I fully support LGBTQ equality legislation.
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