Empower Workers to Reduce Inequality

Inequality has reached new extremes. As the corporate elite pulls in incomes, perks and tax breaks beyond the imaginations of kings, wages for the rest of us have stagnated or declined — and more and more jobs have become contingent and part-time, with low pay and few benefits. Robust economic growth and full employment, if we can achieve it, will force employers to bid up wages. But the key to reversing inequality is strong unions. We pledge to fight for the right of workers to form unions and bargain collectively for better wages and benefits.

Guaranteed labor rights should be complemented by action to lift the floor under every worker by guaranteeing a living wage, paid sick and vacation days, and affordable health care. We must curb CEO compensation policies that give executives personal incentives to plunder their own companies. And we should use the tax system to reward companies that pay their workers a decent proportion to what they pay their executives.

  • In 2018, “both the Gallup and the Pew polls show public support for unions at its highest level in years: 61 percent at Gallup; 60 percent at Pew, a good 20 to 35 percentage points higher than the approval ratings of President Trump and the Republican Congress. Among Americans under 30, unions’ approval rating is a stratospheric 76 percent. “
  • As more U.S. adults approve of unions, their interest in wanting unions to have more influence is also on the rise. Thirty-nine percent of Americans would like unions to have more influence — the highest figure recorded in the 18 years Gallup has asked this question. Consequently, those who want labor unions to have less influence is at a record low of 28%. (Gallup, 2018)
  • Three in four [Americans] favored raising the minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $9.00 over a two-year period (Republicans 58%, Democrats 89%),” while 57% of Americans supported a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over a three-year period.”
  • 64% of workers say their wages “aren’t keeping up with the rising cost of living,” and 43% agree with that strongly. (Greenberg Research 2018)
  • In a recent Oxfam survey, almost half of those polled (49%) underestimated how unequal America’s economy is. Even so, the vast majority (77%) of those surveyed want the country to be more equal, including a majority (59%) who think the US government should act on this issue “urgently” or “very urgently”.
  • 74% of Americans believe that CEOs are not paid the correct amount relative to the average worker. Overall sentiment about CEO pay remains high even as the public perceives CEOs to make only a fraction of their actual compensation amounts. (Stanford Rock Center of Corporate Governance)
    • 78% of Democrats, 72% of independents, and 54% of Republicans see executive pay as a problem.
  • By 63% to 34%, voters want to “prevent corporations from avoiding taxes when they award their executives millions of dollars in stock options.” (Hart Research Associates Poll, 2013)
  • As of 2015, the majority (70%) of Americans said they believe that the “gap between the rich and the poor in the United States” has gotten larger, and 60% think that the government should do something to fix that gap. (CBS News Poll 2015)
  • 85% of Americans favor requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to employee who are ill. (CBS News Poll, 2015)
  • 78% of voters support establishing a paid family and medical leave fund that would allow all workers to take up to 12 weeks of leave from their jobs with some pay. (First Five Years Fund)
  • 58% of Americans favor an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. (PEW, 2016)